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anne_mikolay_120While grocery shopping the other day (okay...you caught me! I was hunting the aisles for junk food), I came across a display of Barnum's animal crackers. As a kid, I loved animal crackers! Biting the heads off the cookie-creatures was just as much fun as twisting oreos apart. I decided to relive the long-ago days when junk food did not immediately morph into pounds, and I reached for the animal crackers. I stopped when I noted the price: $1.49 a box.

$1.49 for animal crackers? Nabisco must be kidding! When I was a kid, my dad bought the same box for ten cents! Needless to say, I walked out of the store without the animal crackers. Call me cheap (I prefer “thrifty,” thank you), but the price seemed like highway robbery! I left the grocery store empty-handed, lamenting the good, old days when my Dad and Mom stocked our pantry shelves, and I was blissfully ignorant of cost.

I was a cookie lover back then. My favorite cookies, Nabisco Chocolate Snaps, all of ten cents, came in little boxes with a teddy bear face in the corner. Nabisco no longer produces Chocolate Snaps, nor does Keebler produce Fudgetown Cookies, another staple of my previous addiction to sweets.

The main snack food producers of my day (dare I say “junk food” producers) were Hostess and Drakes. Hostess sold two cream-filled chocolate cupcakes in a package for five cents. I well remember when the price was raised to ten cents, then twelve cents, then twenty-five cents. Now the same package (though the cupcakes don't taste the same) is one dollar. Drakes manufactured single packages of six or so delicious oatmeal cookies that were perfect for “dunking” in tea. I haven't seen Drakes oatmeal cookies on store shelves in years.

As my children were growing up, they were as blissfully unaware of the cost of food and provisions as I was when I was young. They had no knowledge of the price of Teddy Grahams, Oreos, Mondo Mondo drinks, Happy Meals, or fruit roll-ups. All things being relative, of course, when they reach my age, they will no doubt be astounded at the price of Teddy Grahams. That's when it will hit them: they are adults (and over-the-hill), and they will hastily snap their wallets shut before shelling out more than their mother did for their childhood favorites.

Now that I am older, I try (with varying degrees of success) to monitor my intake of sweets and treats, but I am absolutely certain that if you put a box of Fudgetown cookies in front of me, I could devour the contents in an instant, more perhaps, in an effort to recapture the sweet life than to please my taste buds.

But I still won't pay $1.49 for a box of animal crackers! Who knew the sweet life could cost so much?