Tangerines are from Tangiers

For Stream of Consciousness Saturday we are given the prompt to write something that includes the letter “t.”  I am reminded of tangerines.

Every year at Christmas we hung up our special decorated Christmas stocking that our mother had made for us and labeled with our names. On Christmas morning we found our stockings filled with tangerines, whole walnuts and candy canes. I carried on this tradition when my kids were little and would include chocolate and small toys. I left out the whole walnuts for my kids.

Tangerines got their name from Tangiers, Morocco where they originated. The season of tangerines is from autumn to spring. Citrus fruit would have been considered a delicacy for many people in the world. After better transport became available citrus in winter was more common.

I remember growing up that citrus from California was considered a special gift along with dried fruit and dates. There was a company called  Mission Pak which shipped gift packs of oranges, dried fruit, dates and nuts to people in other parts of the country. We used to hear their jingle all the time  around the holidays. It went “Say the magic words, say Mission Pak and it’s on its merry way! No gift so bright, so gay, so light, give the Mission Pak magic way!”

Later in my life, after I had moved to LA, I would see gift packs like these at the Farmers Market on Fairfax. Tourists would buy them or have them shipped as gifts.

Did you get tangerines or oranges in your Christmas stocking? Do you remember Mission Pak? I really like the little Clementines that are seedless. They are a nice size for kids to have for snacks and no worry about spitting out or swallowing seeds.

6831078913_f7bd5c6893_z  Photo courtesy of Orange County Archives

 

|LindaGHill|

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26 thoughts on “Tangerines are from Tangiers

  1. Silver Threading

    I loved your connection to tangerines. I got fruit as a child too. My kids ate some fruit, but I remember with five of them we concentrated on vegetables more. Today, I eat tons of fruit and vegetables. Most of my kids still do too. Now, my grandchildren… not so much. Interesting that when our world was smaller fruits and nuts, figs, etc. were precious. Now they are readily available and so many do not eat them. Thanks for sharing some great memories. ❤

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  2. Dave

    Thanks for the interesting tidbit. I learned something(s) today. I love the thought connection from “t” to tangerines and Tangiers. Some of the memories are from before my time, but I like learning from the memories of others.

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  3. Laura L.

    Heh. I was just telling a 28-year old friend about getting oranges in my Christmas stocking when I was young. He was flabbergasted. What kind of lame gift is that? I explained much of what you did in this post. Kids, right? 😀

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    1. Deborah Drucker Post author

      Right. 🙂 I have been thinking about this too. It is not so lame because people still give gifts of food for the holidays. I did not get into some of the history of the custom I found on google because it was not so much stream of consciousness but apparently there is a tie in with St. Nickolas and the oranges.

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  4. morgaine620

    Hi Deborah, nice to meet you. I grew up in Germany in the 70’s and I can remember that my parents got a big grate of oranges and a big grate of tangerines by the end of November and they had to last to Christmas. They were always a feast. Today I live in Great Britain and I can get oranges and tangerines all year round and it has just lost its magic. Such a shame. Great post!

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    1. Deborah Drucker Post author

      Hi Morgaine, nice to meet you too. Thanks for the kind words and sharing your memories. The man who started the Mission Pak business came from a part of the United States where they did not have oranges in winter and he came up with idea of shipping them back to friends and family and then started his business. I do like eating citrus in winter even now. Tangerines with the green leaves attached remind me of Christmas.

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  5. Hariod Brawn

    When I was a child, we had tinned Tangerines with ‘evaporated milk’ as a special treat on Sundays. For a dessert, this was considered to be almost the height of sophistication! Then along came Black Forest Gateaux of course.

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      1. Hariod Brawn

        Yes Deborah, as I understand it the redder Mandarins were, and possibly still are, sometimes marketed as Tangerines; though this doubtless would have varied on different continents back in the 1950’s.

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  6. Deborah Drucker Post author

    I think mandarins are another type of tangerine and here I think they are more common in the canned variety. Mandarins are smaller and the canned ones have a mild sweet flavor. Clementines are really small too and I like to eat them as fresh fruit. We usually buy little crates of clementines and you can eat more than one at a time because they are so small.

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    1. Hariod Brawn

      Do you know Deborah, I’m not even sure if tinned Tangerines/Mandarins are still sold here in England; but if they are, I shall buy some in the week for nostalgia’s sake, along with some of that dreadful ‘evaporated milk’ that I so loved as a child. A trip down memory lane!

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  7. Audrey Meltzer

    Hi Deborah,
    Here, in Melbourne, when I’m at the fresh foods market, I’m often asking what the difference is between the small orange fresh fruits…slightly different sizes and labelled with different names. There are distinctions: mandarins; tangelos (a cross between a mandarin and a grapefruit); and tangerines which can be “Honey Murcotts” or “Honey Tangerines” or “Sunburst Tangerines.” I usually wind up saying, “Which are the ones without seeds?”
    Some of my earliest memories include driving with my parents from L.A. to Palm Springs, in the days when there were no freeways, and part of the route took us through endless groves of citrus trees. The air was really clear, and I remember the fragrance emanating from those groves.
    I also remember Mission Pak and the Farmer’s Market.
    Thank you for your “T” blog which got us all going!
    xx,A

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