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The 80s, myth and reality?

Discussion in 'The Observation Bar' started by Trenchfriend, Dec 3, 2017.

  1. Sort of the exact opposite to @LizzieMaine, fresh veggies and other things were always available in season, as living in Ohio, stopping by a roadside farmer's "market" would get you many types of fresh foods. Even local meat has always been easily accessible. Some things, lie avocados, were always delicacies, but the nuts and bolts things (corn, tomatoes, peppers, okra, etc) were easily obtained. Root vegetables and squash were plentiful through the winter months. Lobster has always been a delicacy here though. When I was a kid, we had a penny coffee can we'd toss our copper into. Once or twice a year, we would have a penny rolling party and the family would go out for Lobster. I think we can thank FedEx for fresh seafood these days. Until there was an avenue to get it to us from the coasts, we would only get freshwater fish.

    As for smoking, I'll own up. If it wasn't so bad for my health, I'd still smoke. One of life's great pleasures is having a smoke after a meal.

    Sent directly from my mind to yours.
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  2. I tried smoking a few times.

    First time I was 12, at a friend's bar-mitzvah. A few of us went behind a massive curtain out in the hallway and lit one. Not knowing how to do it, I took a drag the size of Canarsie, and proceeded to hack my lungs up. Never tried it again.

    Second time I was 16. At home, I wanted to try a pipe, so my Dad let me have at it. I (poorly) packed a bowl and smoked as much of it as I could, with all the constant relighting. My Dad, seeing this, offered to pack another one, this time correctly. I sat smoking it while playing Chinese Checkers with my younger brother. Midway through the game, my stomach tried to jump out of my body. I made it to the toilet just in time before losing everything in it. I think he did it on purpose.

    Third time was a cigar in my late 20s. No ill effects, and I'll still have one very occasionally. I prefer Honduran coronas.
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  3. I want to say it was the late 70s that the first big anti-smoking sentiments came through, via P.S.A.'s during Saturday morning cartoons and such. It was pretty much in full force by the 80s, when a non-smoking section became an option. I recall a Raymond Carver story in which the wife says to the husband that they must be the only people left who still smoked (Carver, a heavy puffer, died in 1982, I think, from lung cancer metastasized into a brain tumor). It seems to have abated somewhat later in the 80s and into the 90s, when I made my first foray into cigarette smoking (and not by coincidence, discovered for the first time that it is biologically possible to vomit through your nose). Though a steady smoker for seven years, and an on again/off again one for the last four, I am all in favor of the current proscriptions against the habit. I once helped a woman of my aquaintance clean an apartment she had just moved into, the former resident of which had been a chain smoker. I spent much of this time washing and scraping a grimy yellow film off the window panes, every one of which was encrusted with the stuff.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
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  4. BlueTrain

    BlueTrain Call Me a Cab

    There is a scene in the WWII movie "The Fighting Sullivan's" of the father letting one or two of his sons try smoking after catching them experimenting in the shed out back.

    I worked on a tobacco farm one summer and the "tars" they used to mention in advertising is very real. That's where the yellow comes from. Some of my relatives and some of my wife's relatives smoked (including one who lived past 100) but none of them ever had cancer. But they're all dead anyway.
    M Hatman likes this.
  5. I was 13 when I bought a small bag
    of corn seed at a place that sold farm items.
    Clearing the dirt of weeds and grass was
    the hardest part.
    I planted three rows.
    Within no time the corn grew.
    I was so proud, I asked my mom to take a picture.
    When it was time, I gathered the corn
    and cooked it. My mom showed me how.

    The corn looked like the one sold at the
    grocery store but the taste was different.
    I went to the shop where I had bought the seeds and
    mentioned it to the vendor.
    He told me the corn was used mostly
    for feeding hogs.
    I never knew there was different kinds
    of corn. :(
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2017
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  6. Hamburger meat? o_O

    Is that regular?
    Super lean?
    Extra Super lean?
    Grass fed?
    Day old?
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
  7. The main reason fresh vegetables were uncommon in the Northeast is that it wasn't, and really still isn't, profitable to grow them in large quantities here given the poor quality of the soil and the short growing seasons. Corn will grow reasonably well here -- I once planted some in a window box just to thumb my nose at the local "downtown beautification committee" -- but tomatoes are a struggle, and carrots will usually show up as thin, wizzly-looking shrunken things ill-suited to much of anything. It's much more profitable to ship vegetables in from out of the region than to grow them locally -- most of the "farm fresh" items you found in the 80s, as with most you find here today, are high-priced speciality items. Potatoes still grow well, but the giant potato fields of the 20th Century are increasingly losing out to giant agribusiness products From Away.

    I never knew that such a thing as an avocado existed until I went to California and asked what all those slimy green things rotting in the gutter were.

    Other than potatoes, the only serious farming that was ever a factor here was dairy farming, with most towns getting their milk from dairies within a ten or twenty miles radius. Fresh milk, butter, and cheese were taken for granted, and a tight system of price controls put in place in the wake of the Depression ensured that they were available to everyone while allowing the farmers to make a decent living. But that industry, too, has largely collapsed, with an increasing proportion of our milk being shipped in by big industrial dairy operations from out of state.

    The only meatpacking that was ever really a major industry here was poultry, which was very important to the local economy for about thirty years after WWII, when low-interest government-backed loans to GIs put many ex-military types into the poultry farming business. This led to a chicken boom lasted until the oil crisis of the 1970s, when the cost of heating chicken barns caused all of the processing companies to move south during the late seventies and 80s, cutting the guts, if you will, out of the local economy. But while it lasted, you could get cheap, fresh local broilers that topped anything shipped in cold-storage or frozen. A Maine chicken barbecue in those days was something to be anticipated with relish. And vinegar, too, if you liked it. There are "artisanal" meatpackers here and there, especially with the arrival in recent years of the Amish, but the prices are prohibitive except for special occasions. And honestly, I've had the stuff, and it doesn't taste a bit different from the cheap kind from Hannafid's. Marketing is Marketing, even if Ye Boys wear galluses and chin whiskers.

    Fresh sardines used to be available locally from several different packers, but that too ended in the 80s. You get pretty tired of sardines after a while, they're almost as hard to stomach as lobster. Fried clams, however, I can eat by the peck.
  8. 80-20, shot full of nitrates to keep it pink.
  9. When's the best time to visit Maine?

    I've never had lobster or shrimp from
    up North.
    Where's the best spots?
    How about lodging?
    Any available that will accept a cat also?

  10. Summer is the only time of year when the climate is hospitable to visitors. In the spring it's cold, raw and wet. In the fall it's cold, raw, and wet. And in the winter, it's cold, raw, and wet, and you never know when seventeen inches of snow is going on land on your head. Unfortunately, that means it's a rush in the Summer for people to get up here -- some towns double their population during the summer, and finding a place to park requires half the day, let alone finding a place to sleep. Unless you've got a Nash, and can sleep in your car.
    scotrace likes this.
  11. HadleyH1

    HadleyH1 Practically Family

    Talking about lobsters....and what they have to do with the 1980s (I know lol :rolleyes:)

    .....Oh my foes and oh my friends......I simply adore lobsters, I can never have enough!

    In the frozen area of the supermarket, the other day....$30 dollars a tiny lobster come prawn! :eek: too much!

    Lobster Thermidor. Enought said. Hmmm:D

    Trenchfriend likes this.
  12. I spent a month in California this spring and coming from the Pac North West where most fruit and veg is imported save for sweet peppers and tomatoes from our large greenhouse producers. I was in a California Safeway and it struck me as I looked to see where the produce came from......for once I was in a place where most of the food was at least from the state if not local. Nothing imported! I had to explain to my wife why I was laughing.....nothing imported, imagine that!
    HadleyH1 likes this.
  13. HadleyH1

    HadleyH1 Practically Family

    Material 80s....material world.....! Perfect song for the decade!

    she ruled the 80s, didn't she? ;) :D

  14. okey-dokey! :)
    Not exactly a Nash but it will handle the cold, raw and wet!
    So...what’s playing at the Strand?
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
  15. So there is a place in the world where a meal featuring chicken is looked upon with more anticipation than lobster. The world is on its ear. ;)
    HadleyH1 likes this.
  16. Yep. A split whole chicken slow-grilled on an iron storm-drain grating laid over an open wood fire, served on a paper plate with a bag of King Cole potato chips and an ice cold half-pint carton of Grant's lemonade, all for $1. That is the absolute apotheosis of eating, but the real full-on experience has been defunct since the collapse of the local poultry industry in the '80s. I would take one serving of real Maine chicken barbecue over all the lobsters in the ocean.

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  17. upload_2017-12-6_20-10-35.png

    "You know, Pee Wee, there's a real twisted side to you!"

    If only Captain Carl had really known how twisted..
    Edward likes this.
  18. Now I'm hungry for chicken.
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  19. 59Lark

    59Lark A-List Customer

    born in the 60s, I remember the 80s , the girls hair so puffy, so perfect so much. we don't have as much fresh fish here, lots of fish sticks but the worst experience was we called fish pucks. my mother would serve them as they were cheap. ground up fish in a puck, yuck. I do remember plastic food, growing up on the farm , we grew our own food but the few times to the city we commented on the chains as plastic food, my brother was at university and once organized a bunch of people that went into a mc Donald with their own plates and forks to complain about all the throw away packaging, the manager was not amused and called the police , oh the 80s. 59lark
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  20. BlueTrain

    BlueTrain Call Me a Cab

    Puffed up hair? You would have loved the 60s.

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