Missing Items



I was wandering around the Supermarket the other day on a fruitless search seeking something that didn’t seem to exist. On this particular quest I was looking for ‘Creamota’ a favourite cereal of mine. It was a breakfast favourite popular for a large section of New Zealanders for over one hundred years. Should it be true that it has gone it’s a travesty. Anyway it must have gone and soon forgotten I suppose as it’s no where to be seen. Earlier I had wondered what would happen when Fleming’s’ Factory in Gore was purchased Lock Stock and Barrel by a competitor, Uncle Toby’s. So what is going to happen to it? Are they going to carry on as before? I didn’t have to wait too long to find out. Poor old ‘Sergeant Dan’, pity he too has to go the way of old scouts. So now we are left with only two varieties of rolled oats, namely Harrington’s and Uncle Toby’s. It would seem that the cooked cereal breakfast too is on the way out. Even the plain oatmeal seems to have disappeared.


It started me thinking, perhaps many of the other one time staples are being slowly withdrawn, sometimes in a subtle way. All purchased by a competitor, then quietly got rid off. I seem to remember Bon Ami window cleaner, and another from my youth Gibb’s pink dental cake, packed in an aluminium can. I remember another item I never see today, that’s Fly papers that came in a sticky roll. I never liked them, but I don’t have to worry about them any more. Gone. The Boot Polish ‘Nugget’ gone too. I can understand egg preserving products, not selling and being withdrawn. There is not much call for that product today. Further more, not every family today has a dozen chooks in their backyard. The need to preserve surplus eggs during the seasonal flush is no longer necessary.


There has also been a falling off in home bottling and preserving too. The market and shops are flooded with cheap canned products. All shipped in from overseas. Peaches from Poland, China, and South Africa. These would you believe, are all selling for less than we can buy the raw materials. The canning factory in Roxburgh found this out too, unable to compete, it had to close. This in turn hurt the local growers who actually depended on the factory for their livelihood. The only local one that was available to buy their product. At one time I had access to a home canning system, but again, the price of the empty cans actually exceeded the price of filled cans imported from overseas.


Nothing seems to make sense any more. Oysters in shell, the preferred way of eating them by a Connoisseur. Forget it, they are now shucked at their source and delivered to us in a plastic pot. I will never forget the look on a Frenchman’s face when he was offered some in this manner by his favourite fish merchant, ‘Sacre Bieu’. The best oyster in the world is now nearly destroyed.


Shoes are another item that has changed. So cheap now that no one bothers any more to repair them. When showing signs of wear, they are simply discarded. I gave away my boot ‘Last’ with my tins of brass cleats and hob nails, toe and heel plates, to a Niece who stored them away amongst her other antique items.


I remember I my youth candles and kerosene lamps were still in common use. I was pleased to note that candles are still on display on the grocers shelves. Whenever we have an power outage, there is always a scramble to look under the bench in the dark to resurrect the old standby. The ranks of old faithfuls that have now gone is endless. Lemonade, the American Giants have swept aside our old favourites ‘Lanes’ ‘Ballins’ and ‘Thompson’s’. Not even an empty bottle in sight as they had a small redeemable price on their bottle returns, kids quickly exploited this source of revenue.


In the cosmetics range there has been huge changes too. Qtol a popular face cream gone. Shaving soap forget it, so I suppose shaving Brushes too. Remember Baxter’s lung tonic? However there could be another reasons for some of the removals. In the past, many of our more popular remedial brands were heavily laced with alcohol, and would you believe until recently, opiates. The Chemists and Doctors would know which could be additive. We all had someone in our family that clung to their favourite remedy, like it or like it not they were addicted. I know of one case recently that they became addicted a nicotine supplement chewing gum to stop smoking. I know from my time in the services that lemon extract was always on any order the Cooks put forward. None of it however found it’s way into their cooking. The fact that it was laced with proof Spirit could have had something to do with it’s popularity.




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