We All Wanted to Escape In The 80s

Friday, October 10, 2014
Tell us your favourite crunchy thing to eat.


In the 80s, we all wanted to escape.

Maybe it was the seductive fascination of James Bond who drove us across Europe on the back of his motorcycle with a warm marine wind in our (perfect) hair that led us to believe that the Mediterranean was the place to be.  Peaceful, blooming vineyards in the spring, winding roads through the mountains in the fall, skiing on perfect white snow in the winter, and bikinis that don’t fall down (or creep up) in the summer.

We didn’t have to worry about Japan buying all of our car plants if we were water skiing in Spain.  We didn’t have to worry about the recession of 1982 and the record bankruptcies that infected American businesses if we were drinking coffee in France.  And the only thing that would be “trickling down” would be the Italian gelato we held in our carefree hands.

The 80s was a decade of changing times, transitioning from the free spirited 70s into new technology and economic turmoil of the 80s, and it was a time of believing in the dream of escape.  However, the dream was being sold to the middle and lower class who couldn’t afford international travel: so, instead, it was brought to our homes.

Maxwell House’s International Coffees were the ultimate escape food in your kitchen, back then.  Through these tins, you could imagine yourself anywhere else in the world, other than in your kitchen.  You could be drinking…

f480Viennese Coffee51EzQ4dy7KL._SX425AA425_PIbundle-6,TopRight,0,0_AA425_SH20_Suisse Mocha Coffee
f6369French Vanilla Nut Coffee51n-g8YobkL._SX425SX425_SY331_CR,0,0,425,331_PIbundle-6,TopRight,0,0_SX425_SY331_CR,0,0,425,331_SH20_French Vanilla Cafe` Coffee, for when you want to sit in a French cafe` instead of hiding in the bathroom, pretending someone didn’t actually spill the entire box of Cheerios on the couch.

There is a song by Rupert Holmes called “Escape” that really shows this need for international escape at the time:

Pina Coladas, Viennese coffee, French cafe`s…there was something alluring about leaving our comfort zones and enjoying desserts from other lands.

Which brings me to my favorite crunchy food of all time: Viennetta.

 Viennetta was the delicacy of Kings.

It was served in martini glasses with linen napkins.  And you could have it in your own home!

I remember when I was younger and we got Viennetta a couple times.  It was, indeed, a delicacy.  We ate it in olive green tupperware bowls, but the feeling was the same.  Rich, creamy vanilla ice cream. Thin, crunchy chocolate sheets.  Wavy layers that looked like fine lace to my young eyes.  It was exciting, it was exotic and it was fun.  That was the best part: it was fun to eat.  You weren’t just getting spooned scoops of ice cream in your bowl, you were indulging in a luxury.  An affordable luxury.  A little slice of escape.


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