Monday, October 26, 2009

Sweet Childhood Memories

I was recently reminiscing about my favorite childhood meal: a Swanson's chicken pot pie washed down with a bottle of RC Cola with a Hostess cupcake for dessert. (Mind you, I had this dream dinner once and only once and, to this day, I'm suspicious of why my mom served it to me and me alone.)

When Thomas Wolfe wrote, "You can't go home again," I think he was talking about childhood food memories. Frozen pot pies are now inedible and Hostess cupcakes haven't been worth the calories ever since they stopped using lard. RC Cola in a glass bottle is still a treat, if you can find it.

But I've found one favorite that's stood the test of time: the Mallo Cup. Were Mallo Cups a part of your childhood? The milk chocolate with hints of coconut? The whipped creamy, marsh-malloey center? The promise of wealth in the form of play money?

During our recent trip to West Virginia and Ohio, I found these at Cracker Barrel. I ripped into the trademark red, yellow and brown wrapper and temporarily tossed the chocolate candies aside. I was going for the fake money and was relieved to see that it was still there.
I scored two 5-cent cards and wondered how much more I'd need to redeem a prize.

"Must save 500 points"

The answer: 490 more points would score me a $1.00 rebate check (enough to purchase one more Mallo Cup package of two).
Who in their right mind would purchase a hundred Mallo Cups for a $1.00 rebate? That has got to be the worst return on investment since Bernie Madoff's pyramid came tumbling down. The postage alone to mail the cardboard coins would approach a buck.

Man, was I wrong. According to the Boyer Company website (Grammar, punctuation and capitalization are the work of the Boyer Company):
  • Consumers continue to save Play Money for over 73 years. Over 5 % of all play money is redeemed nationwide!
  • The Largest Amount of Play Money redeemed by a single consumer was in 2006 a gentleman from Uniontown Ohio mailed in enough coin cards to receive a $353.00 Check! That's 176,659 points saved (That's a lot of candy!)
Today I spoke with Angel from the Boyer Company and learned the following (Grammar, punctuation, capitalization and statistical analysis are mine):
  • Mallo fans can also redeem their play money for actual prizes. The minimum number of coin cards needed is 2,500. (Now that's a lot of candy.)
  • The 1-cent and 1-dollar coin cards are no longer printed.

Photo courtesy of
  • Boyer prints the coin cards in a continuous roll with the following order repeating endlessly: 5, 10, 5, 25 and 50-cent piece.
  • That means that your chances of getting a 5-cent card are twice as great as drawing a 10, 25 or 50. (You have a 20% chance of 10, 25 or 50 and a 40% chance of drawing a 5.)
  • Your chances of drawing a 10, 25 or 50 card are equal. This surprised me because getting a 50-cent piece was once like winning the Golden Ticket.
Of course, I'm sure the folks at Boyer would say that everyone's a winner who bites into a gooey, delicious Mallo Cup. And I'd have to agree with that 100%. Just the same, I wouldn't mind getting that $1.00 check in the mail. I could buy a bag of Sour Patch Kids.

(What's your favorite childhood candy?)


altadenahiker said...

God, that's funny. And now I suddenly want one of those tickets.

The candies I never lose taste for are m&m's peanuts (big bag), reese's, heath bars, and snickers. But don't go by me -- I still like Banquet pot pies.

Susan C said...

Piper Robert told me that he still hall all of his cardboard coins from childhood. Gawd, the Scots don't throw anything away.

Chrissy said...

LOL never had a mallo cup and didn't know those cupcakes were made w/lard..omg. my mom fed us pot pie is home made... i guess back when we didn't have such discriminating taste?

Mary said...

It a bit like the lottery. I now think I need one of those tickets. When I was a kid, penny candy could be purchased from bins in almost all stores. My favorites were snaps - dots of pink and black candy pasted on paper strips that looked like cash register tapes. You bought the strips by the inch. Another favorite was bulls eyes which were 2 for a penny. They are still available in packages and when they are fresh it's like a little piece of heaven on the tongue. And who could ever forget licorice whips? Today's post was a lot of fun. Thanks for the probing question :-).

Petrea said...

I love this! I vaguely remember Mallo cups--the center isn't gooey but it isn't hard, either, right? I liked those.

But my favorite has always been Butterfinger. You could lose a tooth with that stuff, whatever it is.

altadenahiker said...

Butterfingers are the sugary cement of goodness.

Ronni Gordon said...

My mother always gave us Mallomars. They are different but similar. Graham cracker botton, marshmallow center and chocolate coating. She said when she and my father were newlyweds in New York, they'd hike up the five flights to their apartment and devour a box of Mallomars. I liked them too. I also liked Nestle crunch bars. I think I picked up one almost every day when walking home after elementary school.

Susan C said...

Chrissy, I think Mallo Cups must be an East Coast thing. Amen for homemade pot pie being the best.

Mary, Those little pink and black dots sound delightful. I'm still a big fan of licorice whips.

Petrea, I've never been much of a Butterfinger fan (even though I am a butterfinger).

AH, "Sugary cement of goodness" - ha!

Ronni, I'd almost forgotten about Mallomars. Come to think of it, my favorite candy at See's (a West Coast candy store) is dark chocolate with a mallo filling.

AmyR said...

Mmm, mallo cups. I find them at a retro toy store in Van Nuys called Big Kids. :D

My favorites were chick o sticks and saltwater taffy!

pivoine66 said...

When I visited my grandfather in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, a treat was getting to walk up to the corner store and buy penny candy. Right now I am thinking of red licorice strings wound up in a spiral and the strange pink, white and black square candies (embedded layers of color) that tasted like coconut. Or something. Flavor was secondary and nothing was wrapped, of course. Also candy cigarettes (!) for prop value. My city favorites were Sweet Tarts and Dots. Chocolate came later. My favorite chocolates are from Switzerland -- they have liqueur on the inside that runs out when you bite into them.

Petrea said...

Amy, is Big Kids that mini-mall place on a northwest corner next to a popular diner (I forgot the name)? What's the intersection?

Karen said...

Mallo must have been East Coast. I don't remember that one.

We didn't eat much candy(!), but I remember Almond Joy, AbbaZabba and peanut butter cups. My mom's favorite was something called the $100,000 Bar.

I had to sell almond roca (another fav) door to door for a drill team fundraiser in high school. I remember knocking on a door and when the woman asked, "Who is it?" I announced what I was selling.

She flung the door open, a joyful smile on her face, and exclaimed, "Almond roca! Be still my heart!" I made a nice sale on that one. :-)

We loved those frozen pot pies, too. Now I get the fresh ones from Moffatt's Pies in Arcadia. YUM.

Susan C said...

Amy, I tried to find Big Kids via google. Do you think that it's now in Sherman Oaks? I'd like to make a field trip.

Pivo, Reminds me of the line from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker. You've found a way to have your candy and get drunk on it too.

Karen, Love that almond roca story. Now you're made me hungry for Moffatt's. I think I know what's for dinner.

Anonymous said...

You can go home. I never left. Remember those Carver Caramels of mine? Couldn't give um away at the last blogger picnic (except for AH). I left her begging for more.

AmyR said...

Aha, it is in Sherman Oaks now:

There's a great greasy spoon diner next to it called Nat's. I go there for eggs benedict as often as I can. :)

Nancy said...

Susan, your blog followers are all a riot!!! Your blog is fantastic. I ate every kind of chocolate candy when I was a kid. I couldn't get enough of it.

Now, I have to be more discriminating to keep my girlish figure... lol. I'll eat anything with dark chocolate, m&m's, promises, sees, Godiva, especially love the Rocky Road Dark and also Milky Way Dark. Must be my "Dark Side" coming out. Or maybe my marrow donor loved dark chocolate?

love ya, n

Sharon, TeamKrissy said...

I love Almond Joy! Yummy! The only time I get one is during Halloween. I love getting a piece of coconut 4 hours after devouring the bar. I guess that is the Joy in Almond Joy!

Petrea said...

That's it! Right next to Nat's at Burbank and Hazeltine. Susan, if you go on a Saturday or Sunday morning you'll have to park blocks away because Nat's is usually packed. Keep "popular diner" in mind when scheduling your visit.

JCK said...

I love Good-n-Plenty. It is just now occuring to me the subliminal message therein. Hmmm... I would love to try Mallo cups.

My husband remembers drinking RC cola and eating Moon Pies. He's from Georgia.

And YEAH! to Mary who put a name to the candy I've been trying to remember forever - snaps!

Fun post.

Desiree said...

JCK--the band NRBQ did a song titled just that: "RC Cola and a moon pie"--
Kid food I loved: fish sticks and tater tots. Utterly trashy. With a thousand island sauce of mayonnaise, ketchup and relish. So many of my favorite things involve mayo!

Susan C said...

PA We all went gaga over the Carver Caramels.

Amy, A candy run AND a great breakfast? Sounds like a winning morning.

Nancy, I hear that if you're going to eat chocolate that dark is the healthy way to go. I'm trying to stay as healthy as possible.

Sharon, I wish my daughter was young enough to go trick or treating. I'd raid her Almond Joys!

Petrea, Good to know. I should try for a weekday breakfast/candy run.

JCK, Moon Pies and RC Cola - now that brings back some memories.

Susan C said...

Just missed Desiree's comment. I didn't know about that song. I never ate Tater Tots as a child, but C's boyfriend recently put them in a breakfast burrito, and it was yummy.

Margaret said...

I feel so deprived. I've never had a mallo cup or an RC soda. (My mom was very anti soda. We could only have 7-Up or Ginger Ale, and then only if we were sick or it was a special occasion).

Susan C said...

Margaret, I'm thinking of doing another one of my "take comfort" parties in February. Looks like I'll have to serve up some RC Cola and Mallo Cups.

{cher} said...

those Mallo Cups are made about a mile from my house in Altoona PA! lol

i'm not fond of them, but i've always been a big Reese's junky all of my life!!

Susan C said...

Cher, Ahh, that's like living in Hersey and not liking chocolate (or Phillie and not liking baseball).

Nelle said...

I loved chicken pot pies as a kid. I found a few years ago the Marie Calendar made a pretty good chicken pot pie and have one maybe twice a year. I liked all candy but Heath bars were a real favorite. I also loved licorice whips and anything with coconut. Someone described the pink square items with coconut. I also loved RC cola. Now my very favorite candy is the Godiva open oyster but I refuse to buy them because they are so expensive and I am content with anything chocolate.

Lele said...

There is something magical about frozen meals for a kid- my favorite was always swedish meatballs with egg noodles.

Susan C said...

Nelle, this post has been me hungry for pot pies. I made a run to Moffett's, a local place with pies that you buy and then bake at home.

Lele, Noodles and Swedish meatballs? Your palate was more sophisticated than mine.

Paula L. Johnson said...

FYI, you can get Mallo Cups and a bunch of other retro candy at Galco's on York Bl. They display the candy in what was once the produce cases.

Oh, great. Now I want a Nut Goodie!

Susan C said...

Paula, that's so exciting about the Mallo Cups at Galco's. I'm hoping I can also pick up RC Cola there. I didn't see them on their website, but I'll bet they can order for me. Comfort 2010, here I come!

altadenahiker said...

I love this post. It could do some real damage.

pivoine66 said...

Galco's has EVERYTHING and then some. In the glass bottles and all. You'll enjoy it!

Carolyn Jung said...

Gummi bears, hands down for me. And I don't care what anyone says -- the clear ones are the best. ;)

Kym said...

Haha - love this - in fact I was just doing a little reminisce in my blog about musk sticks...check it out if you like:


Anonymous said...

If you stop at Galco's you might come and visit me.

Piper Robert said...

Yes, I still have my coins. Even a dollar bill, which is my prize possession.

BTW, you'll be happy to know I have some of your school papers from jr. high. I also hold some of Jimmy's from grade school.

No, we don't throw anything away.

My favorite frozen meal was Swanson turkey with whipped potatoes. Dressing was edible and so was the dessert. Somehow, eating out of a tin foil tray was a treat.

Anonymous said...
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Tea Time Consultants said...

I remember the "Mallo". Once the company had a contest that I entered. I understood the contest to be a list of the fifty (50) states. So as a good eleven year old, I set out to list the 50 states and mail in as the contest requested.

Received a letter back. The contest required a "Mallo" wrapper, which each wrapper had to have each state's name imprinted on the wrapper. I did not win that contest.

I always wondered, how many other people sent the list in, just as I had done.

Come by for a visit sometime: said...

This got me thinking about childhood treats. I've tried one or two (or three, but, hey, who's counting?!) and you are right - they tend not to live up to memory.

I had a beloved candy bar the other day for the first time in years and it was awful. Sigh. Sometimes you don't want to go home.


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SFphotocraft said...

In Minnesota Pearson's candies made a treat called a NUT GOODIE. It looked more like a cow pattie - marshmallow center, nuts and chocolate poured over it all. YUM! Every time I go through the MSP airport I pick up a few to take home with me.

Growing up I went to a Catholic school. We had to take communion every morning, so we could not eat. I got the same breakfast every morning. A Hostess Twinkie and five cents for a bottle of milk. I will say no more!