Butter pecan ice cream, chip dip and Big O orange juice.
If those three items together mean nothing to you, either you didn't grow up in Ohio or you're under the age of 25.
For the rest of us, those items can only mean a trip to Lawson's, the dairy store chain that was founded in Akron. Recently, I was asked by a reader if Lawson's Egg Nog is still available. It's not, but tracking down the information led me to a interesting revelation.
Lawson's stores are alive and well and thriving — in Japan.
First, the history lesson for you Ohio trivia buffs out there.
It was Akron-area dairy owner J.J. Lawson who started the Lawson's Milk Co. in 1939, when he opened a small store at his dairy on Broad Street in Cuyahoga Falls.
Over the next 20 years, Lawson's grew into a chain of stores throughout Ohio. In 1959, Lawson sold his stores to Consolidated Foods, which later was renamed Sara Lee Corp.
OK, more trivia: Sara Lee was a real person. She was the daughter of baker Charlie Lubin, who named his line of cheesecakes after his young daughter. Lubin's company was purchased by Consolidated Foods in 1956, and he went on to serve as an executive there for many years. In 1985, Consolidated Foods took on his daughter's name as well.
Now back to 1959.
Consolidated Foods continued to operate Lawson's in Ohio and other states through the 1960s, '70s and into the '80s, when the company sold the 700 Lawson's stores in the U.S. to Dairy Mart in 1984.
Dairy Mart, at the time, was based in Connecticut, but eventually moved its corporate headquarters to Hudson. The Dairy Mart era lasted until 2002, when the company filed for bankruptcy, and a Canadian company, Alimentation Couche-Tard, acquired the stores, renaming them Circle K.
However, 10 years before Consolidated sold off the U.S. Lawson's stores, it signed an agreement with Daiei Inc., one of Japan's largest grocery store chains, to operate Lawson's stores there.
The first Lawson's opened in Japan in April 1975, and today Lawson's stores there number more than 8,500.
When I visited the company's Web site (http://www.lawson.co.jp/company/e/index.html) the first thing that caught my eye was a photograph of one of the stores. It looked pretty much the same as the ones did in Ohio, right down to the blue sign with the white milk bottle on it.
In fact, the milk-bottle sign is the icon the company uses at the start of its Web address.
I haven't seen that milk bottle in a while. I couldn't help but feel nostalgic and wonder whether the Japanese stores sell Lawson's chip dip.
There are those who would argue that Lawson's French onion chip dip is the best of all time. In fact, when Alimentation Couche-Tard took over the Dairy Mart stores, it agreed to continue to sell Lawson's Chip Dip, as Dairy Mart had done due to its popularity.
The Lawson's chip dip that you can buy at Circle K stores is the last vestige of the Lawson's stores left in Ohio and the U.S. Those Lawson's products were acquired by Dairy Mart in the 1984 sale.
Ken Dillon, a senior category manager in Circle K's Great Lakes Regional office in Akron, said a lot of the Lawson's products, including egg nog and ice cream, went away during the Dairy Mart years. The items had been made at the Cuyahoga Falls dairy, which eventually closed.
''Big O finally died a slow death last year,'' Dillon said.
The chip dip is now made by Dairymen's Dairy in Cleveland, using the original recipe, he said.
So we don't have to head to Japan for our chip dip. Which is a good thing, because for some reason now I could eat some chips and dip, which would go really well with a chipped-chopped ham sandwich.
Until next week, have fun in the kitchen dishing up some nostalgia on your own table.
Lisa A. Abraham can be reached at 330-996-3737 or email@example.com.