A few days ago I mentioned Oatmeal Swirlers on Twitter. Very quickly I got a response that triggered all sorts of memories that brought me back to my childhood.
Good Life was talking about Fudge Jumbles. They were this delicious concoction of Peanut Butter and Oatmeal from Pilsbury that I came to adore, but things didn’t start that way.
In the eighties, my Grandmother showed up at our house with a treat I had never seen before. It looked like chocolate, but it had these weird brown clumps in it. I was intrigued and I asked my Grandmother about them, she then made a terrible mistake, she mentioned to me that they were chocolate mixed with of all things, oatmeal. This was how I was introduced to the Fudge Jumble.
Sadly, I was still at the age when I thought of oatmeal as healthy food, something akin to a vegetable. So, at that point, I turned up my nose and walked away.
That night, after dinner, while everyone ate two Fudge Jumbles each, I just stared suspiciously. They “looked” good, but I have had some experience with oatmeal that was most certainly not a dessert. So I put them in the same class as oatmeal cookies, maybe edible, but certainly suspicious.
But all that chocolate!
As the evening progressed I kept checking out the leftovers and when no one was looking, I took a little nibble of the chocolate section. In doing so, I got a taste of oatmeal, and surprise, it was delicious.
I wanted more, but after making such a scene about the oatmeal, what could I do?
I needed to play it real cool. So I approached my Grandmother who was doing a crossword puzzle and drinking her evening cup of coffee.
“So, Nana, I was thinking maybe I should try some of these oatmeal desserts.”
“Yeah, it was rude of me to not try them after you put in all that hard work to make them.”
“Well, I don’t want you to be rude. Why don’t you go get one and bring one over for me and I can watch you try one.”
I almost fell over running across the kitchen and running back with two Jumbles wrapped in napkins.
I think my Grandmother knew what was up and she just smiled, smoking her cigarette watching me quickly eat my Jumble without the tentative pause of someone trying something for the first time.
When it was done, she pushed her’s over to me. From that moment on, we had Fudge Jumbles regularly and oatmeal treats were suddenly no longer off the menu, opening the door to cookies and sweet breakfast oatmeal treats like Swirlers.
Pillsbury eventually stopped making Fudge Jumbles, but if you look online, you will see lots of copycat recipes. Which is a testament to the impact this treat had on a generation of people. I have not had one for years, but I think I might need to try one of these recipes this weekend.
For those not familiar with Jumbles, here is a commercial that ends with an appearance by everyone’s favorite Doughboy.