From my mother’s friend Marion, who was born in the 1920’s.
We lived a very all-American life, my mom was a stay-at-home mother, and Joe, my father, was a railroad engineer that drove the big locomotive passenger train to Chicago. He worked all the time. One day he announced that he would make me some root beer in the basement. I was thrilled!
Remember there were no A&W root beer stands. My best treat was 5 cents to run to the drugstore to get a candy bar.
Joe was a very serious father, so the idea of a root beer party sounded great! I actually can’t remember the whole process that went on, but that evening after dinner, we were all reading in the living room (before tv) when fireworks started, all coming from the basement. Yup, every bottle had exploded!
My father never made root beer again.
And reprising a post from July 2007:
Gimme an R, Gimme an O, Gimme an O, Gimme a T
Gimme a B, Gimme an E, Gimme an E, Gimme an R!!
So luscious with a sandwich.
Dog n Suds was a drive-in I liked when I was a kid. Hot dogs and root beer delivered by a car hop. Does make my tongue feel soapy to think of it, but the name is a good one.
And from a childhood preceding mine, a story from my mother:
Root Beer Blast
Having been born to young, working-class parents two years before the Great Depression descended in 1929, as I grew up I was very familiar with the philosophy of “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”, necessary during that time.
Things like ice cream or root beer were special treats. With ice plentiful (think winter in Wisconsin), people often made their own ice cream. Home-made was cheaper. My mother bought a package of root beer mix which, I assume, contained flavoring and perhaps fermentation materials. My mother followed the directions on the package that said it only needed to be mixed with water (and perhaps yeast, also easily available) in a big jar with a tight lid, and then to be left in a cool dark place for a few days to be transformed. Being under age ten at the time, I am a little fuzzy about all of that.
One evening my parents planned to attend a church gathering that did not include children. Since I was being left at home, she felt I deserved a little treat, and retrieved the big jar from the basement. It looked like root beer except that it was still, without the foam that the mugs of root beer in the ads showed. So I asked her to shake it up before she poured it out. To humor me, she did,and then unscrewed the lid.
The root beer EXPLODED and coated every surface, including ourselves (and my mother in her good clothes). Boy was my mother mad and I don’t remember if my parents got to church that night.