No, this is not a misplaced Father’s Day post. It’s actually both a confession and a celebration, all inspired by the 125th anniversary of Dr Pepper.
Some of you may be wondering, “What is this pop of which you speak?” Some of you, on the other hand, went to college with me, in the town located approximately midway between the soda-drinking St. Louis and the pop-swilling Kansas City.
And some of you, bless your hearts, may not understand why we don’t just simplify our lives and call the stuff “Coke.” Even when it’s technically a Sprite. (Or – gasp! The horror! – a Pepsi.)
But no matter what you call it, carbonated and (usually) caffeinated beverages have gotten a bad rap around my house, and it’s time for that to stop.
See, I used to be one of THOSE people. You know, the kind who say, oh-so-casually, “Well, it would never occur to me to buy a candy bar at the grocery store.” or “Oh, we never miss church. I mean, what would we DO on a Sunday morning?” Right. Only my version of this was, “I just don’t drink much pop/soda/Coke at all.”
Enter pregnancy. The only time I really shouldn’t have been partaking of the caffeine. And enter, also, the strongest craving for McDonald’s liquid crack Coke I’ve ever felt.
Don’t even get me started on the evil that is $1 large drinks at McDonald’s. Don’t even get me started.
Growing up, we only drank pop on special occasions and with certain foods. And even then, it was store brand cola – so I’m not certain that even counts. (Although it has to count more than the Diet Rite my Granny would drink. Because that stuff? Is not pop. Or soda.)
When I went to college, I quickly found that the soda fountains were on at all hours of the day – and I reacted appropriately. Or not so much, depending on how you feel about Mountain Dew for breakfast.
Thankfully, my pop preference didn’t last nearly as long as my addiction to scrambled eggs and hashbrowns for breakfast every single morning (thank you, dorm cafeteria, for a ridiculous Freshman THIRTY). And for several years, I’ve mainly stuck to water most all the time.
But as I’ve battled my new-found love of Coke since my pregnancy, I’ve realized that for all my “I don’t drink pop” proclamations, I have, in fact, enjoyed quite a few different sodas over the years. (Did you see how I did that? I used Coke, pop AND soda in one sentence! Yeah.)
So, in honor of Dr Pepper (my husband’s beverage of choice), here are all the pops I’ve loved before:
1.Mountain Dew – What slumber party is complete without a two-liter of this sickeningly sweet drink?
2.Diet Mountain Dew – My efforts to lose weight began early, and I remember spending many summer nights with my friend Mindy, walking to the gas station and buying Diet Mountain Dew with my babysitting money. It doesn’t actually taste as bad as you might think.
3.Rootbeer – My love of rootbeer has nothing to do with an aversion to caffeine and everything to do with my family’s commitment to store-brand soda.
4.Orange pop – Crush, Sunkist and I think there’s another one. It doesn’t matter. They all taste like sugary sunshine in a bottle. And I love them all.
5.Pepsi – When I first started dating Mark, he drank a TON of Pepsi. His dad literally bought stock in the stuff because his family drank so much. And so, I started drinking it, too. (Of course.)
6.Coke – I don’t know what McDonald’s does to their Coke (although I strongly suspect extra syrup and less carbonation than normal), but it’s the best. And addictive.
7.Cherry Coke – Now, I’m not talking about the kind you get in a can, although that will do in a pinch. No, I’m talking about the kind you get at a restaurant, bar or old-fashioned drugstore with the cherry and the grenadine. These days, I can only handle one or two, but oh my, they are good.
8.Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper – When I was growing up, my friend Mindy and I used to visit the drugstore “uptown,” and that’s where I was introduced to the treat that is adding vanilla to a drink. Years later, I was so excited for this diet version, complete with (fake) cherry and everything!
9.Coke Zero – In theory, this is a good thing. It tastes better than Diet Coke and isn’t as bad for you as Diet Coke or regular Coke. But tasting better doesn’t necessarily mean tasting good, and better for you doesn’t mean good for you. This was a short-lived interest.
10.Dr Pepper – And, finally, today’s guest of honor. As I mentioned, Mark loves Dr Pepper these days, and we always have at least a 12-pack on hand. Every once in a while, water doesn’t cut it (read: weekly date with Hulu and delivered pizza), so I’ll drink one as well. And I have to admit, it IS pretty good.
So, that’s a lot of pop, right? Or soda, if you’re so inclined. What do you like to drink?