Saturday, August 20, 2011

¡Viva Coca!

Anyone who grew up in my generation in America knows the shape of this pale green glass bottle with a waist and a long neck, but rarely sees it any more. Once upon a time, every soft drink machine sold Coke in glass bottles and there was always a wooden, sectioned tray with handles next to the machine for the empties.

The bottles were taken away and washed and refilled with soda. Sometime in the crazy '60s, we forgot about recycling glass and went to aluminum cans instead. These days, what was once a ubiquitous feature of life has become something usually found at laughably high prices in "antique" shops, empty.

My mother was very fond of Coca-Cola and purchased it routinely for herself but it was forbidden to us kids. She said it was expensive so she only treated herself occasionally. Knowing her, I think she also wanted to keep us from too many sweets and she probably knew it contained caffeine - heaven knows, she didn't need children with even more energy. She did allow us small sips of her Coke but we got the forbidding frown if we drank too much of the precious stuff from her glass.

When I was fifteen, my parents parked me in a French boarding school. On the rare occasions when we were allowed to go out, fully chaperoned by one or the other of the school's maiden lady teachers, a special treat for us was to stop at a café and pay an exorbitant price for a reminder of home - Coca-Cola. Usually, if we had enough allowance left, we'd get a burger to go with it.

They do still sell Coca-Cola in glass bottles in Mexico, and you can buy it for similarly high prices at restaurants here in the U.S. It has the remembered shape but the big red-and-white label has been added - in the olden days, the bottle was just green with the name of the soda impressed into the glass.

I was feeling nostalgic the other day, so purchased a "real" Coke to drink with lunch. I thought I knew what Coke tastes like but it had been many years since I drank one with the full sugar hit, so it came as a bit of surprise.

I filled my cup with ice and poured in the cola - today's bottle is much larger - I couldn't finish the whole thing. I guess even in Mexico they have embraced "supersizing." It wasn't nearly as sweet as I expected. It was bubbly and brown but I guess Mexican tastes are for less sweet cola. I actually enjoyed this more than I thought I would. Don't ask me why I bought a beverage I expected to dislike - nostalgia is not always logical.


Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Did I get this right? You got a Mexican coke, made with pure sugar. And it tasted different from the American abomination made with HFCS. Ole!

Saturday, August 20, 2011  
Blogger Greg said...

I used to mainline the stuff. When I was a wee lad there was a construction trailer with a coke machine. Little bottles for five cents.God I'm old.

Saturday, August 20, 2011  
Blogger kudzu said...

I love Mexican Coke. As a Southern child I was brought up on "Co-Cola", and what we get now from South of the Border works for me. My grandfather, when he was a very young man, drove a Coca-Cola wagon, pulled by a horse that had been in a circus in its youth...whenever music played, it would start marching to the beat...But I digress. I suggest you buy yourself another bottle and enjoy it with a real BLT for a weekend breakfast!

Saturday, August 20, 2011  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Cookiecrumb, you nailed it.

Greg, I remember those little bottles, too, but then I'm as old as dirt. :-)

Kudzu, love all those little snippets - don't stop! But, a BLT for breakfast? I could manage one at lunch...

Saturday, August 20, 2011  

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