Fading Fast

Connoisseur
Yeah, probably. It's Godiva, after all.
I'm sure I've told this story here before, but growing up, we were a nothing-fancy household. Chocolate was Hershey's or Mars or some other mass-market brand. And a gift box was Russell Stover or Whitman's. That was chocolate to me as a kid. I had all but no idea that higher-quality chocolate even existed.

Then one Christmas, someone sent my Dad a large box of Godiva chocolates. It was like a small spaceship had landed in our house. We all raced through dinner the first night just so that we could try it. Today, my girlfriend and I would break into it the minute it showed up, but my parents had restraint.

I can still remember the feeling of excitement when we opened the gold box and lifted off the brown wax paper sitting over the chocolates. I think we each got three pieces a night (it lasted a good long time). Even as a kid, you knew Godiva was much better than the chocolate we had been eating (and would very shortly be eating again). I particularly remember this piece.
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As it was the best piece of chocolate I had ever eaten to that point.

Godiva's description:
The lion, iconic symbol of Belgium, is embossed on a dark chocolate shell surrounding Godiva’s velvety caramel. A true classic!

To this day, it's still one of my favorite pieces of chocolate. But as a kid, that was my one experience with high-quality chocolate as, once that box was gone, it was back to Hershey's, etc., for us.
 
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TKI67

Super Member
I'm falling behind on my morning prep for work, so not now, but at some point, I'll tell the story about my father and Howard Johnson's mint-chocolate chip ice cream. Hint, the man grew up in the Depression and did not part with a single dollar lightly, but HoJo's MCC could get that wallet to open up a bit.
Looking forward to that story indeed! I miss HoJo's to this day, along with the peppermint stick ice cream with hot fudge sauce at Schrafft's.
 

Fading Fast

Connoisseur
I'm falling behind on my morning prep for work, so not now, but at some point, I'll tell the story about my father and Howard Johnson's mint-chocolate chip ice cream. Hint, the man grew up in the Depression and did not part with a single dollar lightly, but HoJo's MCC could get that wallet to open up a bit.
Looking forward to that story indeed! I miss HoJo's to this day, along with the peppermint stick ice cream with hot fudge sauce at Schrafft's.
As noted, my dad grew up in the Depression resulting in my upbringing being one of "you don't need that," "do you know how much that costs?" being said so often and definitively, that I all but stopped asking for things while still early in grammar school. A dollar did not exit his wallet casually.

A few other relevant details, my dad had a sweet tooth (inherited by moi) and we lived in New Jersey, which means, yes, the New Jersey Turnpike was a big part of our lives. It's also relevant that my dad's idea of going somewhere in a car was to not waste time, so stops were discouraged: it was not about the journey, it was about getting from point A to point B efficiently.

But there is one more critical piece of information to this tale: very close to "our" exit on the NJ Turnpike (the jokes are appropriate) was a very large and old Howard Johnson's restaurant. On TV, once a year, there was Oz; in my life, there was the spire-topped Howard Johnson's near exit 9. Try as I did, I could not find a picture of that particular, sadly, now-torn-down icon of the chain, but it looked very much like this one even in the '70s.
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You've probably figured this out by now, but car trips with my dad were not fun, cheery events and there was none of this "the kid gets to choose the radio station" stuff. Also, superfluous talk - which seemed to be defined as anything I said - was discouraged, so these were pretty grim affairs. I became very good at entertaining myself by noting details (to myself) about passing cars or buildings, etc.

Now, if anyone has stayed with me through this preamble, we're coming to the ice-cream part of the story, which is driven by two facts: my dad liked ice-cream and my dad really liked Howard Johnson's ice-cream.

So, quite often, the return from some weary car trip would be perked up by the sight of the HoJo's spire and this oddly insouciant comment from my dad, "let's pick up few containers of ice-cream from Howard Johnson's." Always with efficiency being the key, dad would then pull in and idle near the front door, take (in those days) one five dollar bill or several ones from his wallet (no, Hallelujah music didn't play when his wallet opened, but it should have), hand them to me and tell me to "get two containers of the mint chocolate chip and one more that you choose." And always, just as I got out of the car, he'd, sternly, holler out, "and bring me all the change." [Note, not once in my life, as I wanted to keep living, did I not bring him all the change, but the refrain never went away.]

Only if you've lived it can you understand the joy of being a kid, in the enervating '70s, in HoJo's, looking through the take-out ice-cream section knowing you were getting three containers (I usually chose butter-crunch for the other flavor) and that they'd be dessert for the next several evenings. Heck, maybe a bowl would even turn into a mid-day or late-night snack.

To this day, mint chocolate-chip ice-cream, no matter what brand, immediately takes me back to the 1970s, car trips, that old wooden Howard Johnsons and my dad oddly stopping and handing me money to buy ice-cream.
 
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