For years and years now (seriously, like ten years) I’ve been wandering grocery store aisles looking for my favourite old cookie that I remember from childhood. Every now and then it would hit me and I’d think, "boy, I wish I knew where to get some of those cookies with raisins in them", and I’d ask someone if they could remember them as well.
Problem was, almost nobody could. Except my husband. I’ll give the guy credit, he totally remembered them and would sit and scratch his head in nostalgic frustration along with me as we tried to pick our way through the accumulated minutiae of a lifetime’s worth of thoughts and memories, pulling at the cobwebs like so many fishing lines, only to have them come away in our hands empty, no name attached.
I’d labouriously explain to people: "they were like crackers, sort of, with raisins baked right inside. No. Not Fig Newtons. Nope, not French Cremes, and no, not those Cinnamon Danish cookies either."
Frustrated, I began to feel like maybe I’d imagined those cracker-like cookies, kind of like a stoned wheat thin, minus the wheat and salt, but with raisins baked right in. You could snap off the pieces just like a stoned wheat thin.
I gave up hope of ever finding them again, although I couldn’t help tossing a half-hopeful, half-wistful glance up at the shelves in the cookie aisle on grocery day. But I never found them.
So what prompted me to be scanning the contents of the shelves in the Asian snack food section of our local Real Canadian Superstore I’ll never know. Now, it’s not like I don’t like Asia in general or Asian food in particular, but I do find Asian snack food, well, peculiar. Troubling, even. To wit:
These fruit puddings look more like little tubs of paint, to me, and they are, disturbingly, not refrigerated.
And then there’s this weird treat from Japan that my daughter got in a birthday party loot bag once:
They’re kind of like pretzels, dipped in (what I think is) strawberry yogurt. The things you can buy at the dollar store, I tell ya!
Anyway, so there I am gazing at the neon fruit puddings and Hello Kitty fruit pretzels when I see it…staring me in the face!
And it hits me. SULTANAS. That’s what they were called! But I don’t think the ones we snacked on in Oakville, Ontario in the 70s were made by KHONG GUAN and imported from Singapore. (But seriously, if you remember who made the ones we ate back in the 70s, please let me know. I have googled repeatedly and can’t find them…was it Peek Freans? Or Dare? Mr. Christie?)
Of course I bought them. And tried them. And – YES! EUREKA! They are the same (or at least a close enough facsimile)! Although I have to admit, at 3 points per 5 biscuits (one full row) they’re maybe not going to top my treat list while I’m still on Weight Watchers. Oh. And my kids hate them. And so do their friends.