22 July 2011

Junket

Ever get a panicky feeling when you think a part of your heritage might have slipped away without notice? No-one warned you that a beloved childhood treasure might disappear? Missed the chance to fire strong protest letters, to mount a petition, to make a facebook page, hold a public rally? Mass opinion can halt good things from leaving the planet, overturning the gods of commerce who mess with the proletariat. If I could think of a good example, you'd see it right here.

Whatever happened to junket? Slips my mind why this became an obsessive question one day. Nothing happened to it, apparently. It's still there! An easy search quelled my panic to a manageable level. I should have been paying more attention in the supermarket instead of inspecting baby arugula.

Junket has its very own website, “making fine desserts since 1874,” with the reassuring old illustration of Little Miss Junket. Wow, 1874, I didn't know that. History. All the more reason for vigilance all around us. Giant corporations have a way of swallowing up cherished icons and pulling the plug. My historical scare was not the same, of course, as losing the town library, day care centres, or my house. But still.

Look, even the same old packaging and time-tested flavours -- vanilla, strawberry, raspberry, chocolate. None of this embarrassing, trendy drift into pomegranate or blueberry. The junket corporation sticks to time-tested products. Regretfully my grandma, my mom, and I never followed up on the fine print inside the box because I see we can make home-made cheese and ice cream with junket. My admiration deepens.

In my day jello and junket were standard dessert fare. I mean to say our mothers made cakes and cookies too, but j & j were always there, week in and week out. Some kids had a firm either/or preference. You can tell where I stood. Couldn't stand drinking milk so my junket consumption boosted the calcium intake to acceptable levels. My kids in turn had their share.

Do you have a favourite food that disappeared? We history junkies need to know. Document them! Personally, I'm keeping an eye on Red River Cereal. If that goes, the nation may crumble.


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