When my wife and I tried living on a tight food budget some months ago, it brought back childhood memories of a weird product that seemed to be part Kool-aid, part Alka-seltzer and part soda pop; the product was Fizzies. Back in the '60s we were a financially challenged family (poor) and real soda pop was not to be found in our fridge, not in our budget. But, we did have Fizzies tablets on a kitchen shelf — a treat. Drop a tablet in a glass of ice water and you had instant pop, complete with bubbles.
Well, the other day I caught a program on television featuring Fizzies. They're back! But why? In truth, they were not that good. When cyclamates were banned, Fizzies disappeared along with the sweetener. I didn't think anyone missed them.
In the mid '90s they briefly reappeared, this time sweetened with Nutrasweet. They fizzled out again. Today, making a third trip to the plate, Fizzies are now sweetened with Sucralose and reportedly taste much better. Talk about damning with faint praise.
Yet, I confess, when I think of Fizzies I smile. My mother knew how to budget and in truth there was no money for Fizzies in her budget. She found the money, somehow, and I knew those foil wrapped tablets were valuable. It was a real treat to be given a Fizzie. Orange was my favourite but root beer was O.K.
When I think of Fizzies, I do not think of an off-sweet drink, cyclamates did not taste like sugar, but I think of love. That orange soda magically appearing where only a moment ago there had been a glass of water was a small miracle — the small miracle being that my mother could not afford it and yet there it was. :-)
They say Fizzies taste better today. The flavours are fruitier and the sweetener sweeter. They're now fortified with vitamin C and they are, of course, calorie free. And for me, they come complete with an all important ingredient — memories of my mother's love.
I confess. I ordered a package, a six-pack package. I have young nieces and nephews and I bet they'd be delighted with Fizzies. Give 'em a Fizzie and give 'em a memory. (Hey, go rent some Leave It To Beaver videos and make it a full-fledged '60s moment. Welcome to my world.)
And me? I'm going to drink a bubbling glass of orange Fizzie in memory of a grand and very wonderful lady, my late mother.