We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
We were a Franco American fat spaghetti family. Actually, just me and my father, the other eight members of the family wouldn't touch spaghetti at all. I don't know that I ever ate Chef Boy-a-dee at all; didn't have the real stuff until college age.
My very first taste of "pizza" (at age ten) was from a Chef-Boy-Ar-Dee box because we lived in the Southwest and nobody around there had ever heard of pizza (except the young WWII vets who had been in Italy, like my dad). He brought home the box, wanting to introduce us to it. Just dough, canned sauce, and fake cheese, which my mother hated, but which we kids loved. We also ate canned Spaghetti-Os and thought that was the greatest. I wouldn't touch that stuff with a ten foot pole now, but I'm grateful for the memory of new "culinary" experiences.
When I was a kid half my friends families spoke Italian, Greek or Polish. I learned Italian cooking (peasant Italian) at my mothers side. We would have been disowned if we ever bought one of those meals.
I remember the pizza kit. I don't remember the spaghetti kit. Though, we may have used that. I am not sure what my mom used for spaghetti sauce. We used to have spaghetti and fish sticks on Friday nghts.
The Chun King kits I remember. But I grew up outside of Boston, and Prince Spaghetti was the only thing we had - the company had started out on Prince St., in the Italian North End of Boston There was a commercial that must have run for a decade about a kid running through the Italian North End to get home for his spaghetti, the Wednesday night meal. 'Anthony!!'
It turned out he was a real Italian kid from the neighborhood who had happened to chat with some advertising executives who were in the North End scouting locations and they stuck him in the ad, which became famous. There were even some Prince Spaghetti House restaurants but I could never figure out if they were franchises or company-owned or what.
Ragu spaghetti sauce came out at about that time too, so between the two and Kraft Parmesan, we never saw a Chef Boyardee kit.
My Dad loved the Chef Boyardee pizza kits. I grew up in rural Appalachia, but Dad had lived up north for work between graduating high school and setting down for marriage and kids. He would buy the kits and then customize them by adding all his favorite toppings remembered from living in Chicago and Detroit. It’s been 40 years since I had one of his pizzas, but what I wouldn’t give to have one now.