Kid Food

Jiffy Pop, Jiffy Pop the magic treat — as much fun to make as it is to eat. I’ve known this jingle my entire life. Jiffy Pop was invented in 1959, three years before I was born.

As a kid, I loved to make my own food. It was a rush that I could make something usually produced by an adult, or a factory. For those of you, impossibly young, who are wondering “Jiffy Pop, WTF?” Jiffy Pop is popcorn, salt and oil mixed into an aluminum pie pan. That pan has a foil top and a wire handle. To make the popcorn, you simply shake the pan over a heat source—a fire, a stove, a black car hood on a sunny summer day—and the corn kernels begin to pop. It’s so safe and easy, even a little kid can do it.

The only danger is when you cut the foil lid, a blast of steam hot enough to burn your hand is released.

My childhood friend Blake Cornish had an Easy Bake Oven. He got it for his birthday when a parent, seeing the invite to his party, assumed that Blake was a girl. He and I would mix up the overpriced brand-specific batter and stick it into the oven to bake. The heating source was a light bulb.

MrPI had a toy called the Mr. Peanut Peanut Butter Maker. The simplest toy on earth. You simply poured in a cup of peanuts, cranked a handle and ground the nuts into butter. The peanut butter sucked. It was flaky and unspreadable, but I loved it because I didn’t buy it, I made it.

Last week was Eli’s birthday. We got him a cotton candy machine. It’s a pretty high-tech gadget. Light years away from the Easy Bake Oven. You simply pour in a sugary powder—Kool-Aid, Gatorade, cane sugar, etc. The machine heats and spins the mixture, and spider webs of sweetness come squirming out.

He had a handful of friends over for a sleepover the other night. One hundred batches of cotton candy later, they went to bed… at 4:00 AM.

14 thoughts on “Kid Food

  1. Oh the memories! What an awesome post.

    One peccadillo, though. For those “impossibly young” folks out there, they need a better picture of just what happened when you cooked it over that “stove” or “black car hood on a summer sunny day.” It was one of the funnest experiences of my childhood, watching that flat pan of nothingness grow… And Grow… AND GROW… as it popped those hard yellow kernels into a tin-foil-balloon of fluffy white billows of goodness.

    All you youngin’s out there, Google an image of Jiffy Pop. You’ll love it. Better yet, buy a pan and try it for yourself.


    Liked by 1 person

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  3. Ah yes, memories of that time. I was born 4 years before the advent of Jiffy Pop. My mom wasn’t fond of popcorn, and not much on “junk” food, so my exposure was limited. However, on the few occasions we got it, I do recall the magic of the expanding foil dome. And then there was the Easy Bake Oven. I commandeered my sister’s for other cooking projects a few times. Toasted cheese sandwiches worked okay. I can’t recall what it was, but I suspect it was a cookie recipe that ran amok and ended up cooking on the lightbulb itself, leaving a burned and crusty mess. I loved to cook and experiment as a kid, and that’s something thats continued on in my life. Thanks for awakening these memories!


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  5. I loved my Easy Bake Oven. It always came out tasting like burnt brownies, but I got to do it all by myself. Hope the house has recovered from the cotton candy marathon sleep over.


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