Before I begin, how is it I write about food so much on here? I didn’t intend that to happen, but somehow it has.
Anyway, it came up again the other day that over the years, so many of my favorite sinful foods have disappeared off of menus and shelves — often not long after I discover them to begin with. So for no reason other than pure junk food nostalgia, my top 10 delicious-yet-extinct snacks:
- Cheddar Beer Kettle Chips – Kettle Chips are pretty fantastic in general, but they’re made better by the fact that they occasionally release strange flavors that are suggested to them by customers. Well for a few years (2005-2007?), they had such a flavor called Cheddar Beer which sounds disgusting but actually tasted exactly what it sounds like. There was a malt aftertaste! So weird! I don’t really even like beer, but I was obsessed with them and had them with lunch almost every day for a couple of years. Then, for no reason I can guess, they were retired. I was, and remain, crushed.
- WWF Superstars Ice Cream Bars– This was the prize of catching up with an ice cream truck. Never mind if you weren’t into wrestling. You could ignore the trading card that was included, and even the wrestler that was stamped on the bar itself. The point was the ice cream sandwich that was chocolate on one side and a to-die-for shortbread cookie on the other. I am sadly aware of no substitute for these.
- Peanut Butter Boppers– Sugary peanut butter rolled in chocolate chips? Yes, please. This was one of my original “long-lost foods,” and no one I knew remembered them. Thanks to the information age, we can easily find proof of their existence, but for years my only evidence that I wasn’t crazy was the brief appearance of a box of Boppers in grampa’s fridge near the beginning of The Lost Boys. which reminds me: this Wednesday Corey Feldman and his band will be hosting a screening of The Lost Boys at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk (where the movie was filmed). I am so there.
- Tato Skins– Back to chips here, these Keebler snacks were amazing. Really thick almost like a cracker. I thought they disappeared completely, but I saw a bag in a vending machine in the Midwest a few years back. I guess it’s one of those things where they stopped selling in certain markets? According to Wiki, they may be related to T.G.I.Friday’s chips? Must research this. This is all reminding me of some other long-lost chips. O’Boise’s? Chachos? Both also made by Keebler. Keebler apparently ruled my chubby little world in the late 80’s. Thank God we all still have lime Tostitos to fall back on.
- The Potted Plant – For a short while, the Hungry Hunter restaurant had a desert on their menu that was as follows: vanilla-cheesecake custard served in a clay-colored plastic bowl that was shaped to resemble a flower pot. It was then covered completely with crushed Oreo. Finally, a plastic flower was stuck in the top. The overall effect was that they’d set a potted flower down in front of you, and as you ate it, it would at first appear that you were scooping up soil and eating it with a spoon. As a kid, this was beyond fascinating to me… not to mention insanely delicious. With a lot of effort, I suppose I could reproduce it. When it went away, I instead ordered their Bailey’s Irish Cream pie. Which was an excellent backup, and was my gateway into drinking Bailey’s and eventually real drinks. So if I’d turned out to be an alcoholic, just think, I could have blamed Hungry Hunter for nixing the Plant!
- Chocolate Lasagna– While we’re on the subject of chain restaurant deserts, did you ever try this creation from Olive Garden? It was just several layers of chocolate cake, butter-cream frosting, and chocolate chips. Seriously delish. And since I liked it so much, of course, they took it off the menu.
- Cookie Sandwich – OK, if we’re going to do this, let’s do it. Me liking a dessert has proved to be the kiss of death time and time again. The Elephant Bar’s awesome and massive chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich went the way of the dinosaur as well. I know there are even more than these last three examples, but I’ll end this theme. Just trust me, if you like a dessert, never introduce me to it or else the chef will make it his highest priority to stop making it.
- Out Of The Blue-Berry Snapple– I used to be a major lemon iced tea junkie. These days, I can rarely drink it anymore because it’s so sweet. But there was a short-lived variation around 2007 that used blueberry flavor instead of lemon. It’s with us no longer, and my attempts to reproduce it with my own ingredients have failed. But it did serve to hook me on blueberries which I now eat all the time in all forms.
- Orbitz Cola – This was basically like a fruit drink with little balls of like gelatin floating around in it. Come to think of it, I only had it a few times. I think some girl I liked talked me into it. Well, these days we have bubble tea, and it’s actually probably better. So maybe never mind on this one.
- 1980’s Cereal– This is a simple three-way tie between a trio of my faves among the scores of entertainment-themed breakfast cereals of the era. Smurf Berry Crunch were red and blue and tasted very much like what is modernly known as Cap’n Crunch Berries. E.T. cereals had a peanut butter thing going for it, not unlike the modern Reese’s cereal. Mr. T cereal tasted pretty much like modern Cap’n Crunch, and has the added distinction of being featured in a memorable scene in Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. I’d have also mentioned Count Chocula, but all the monster cereals seem to get “re-issued” every so often.
There’s a good chance #1 on this list would have been Mother’s Cookies, had they not been miraculously resurrected last year. They’re back in stores, so we can all rest easier. But they deserve honorable mention for sure. And you know on second thought, those may not actually be the top 10. But they’re the 10 I can think of at the moment. I’m sure more will come to me later. And I know there are whole websites dedicated to discontinued foods of the 80’s and 90’s I could look to. How about you? Any bygone dishes you still long for?
I’ll leave you with this bizarre one from the early days of the internet. G’night kiddies.
Reading: Chuck Pahlaniuk – Pygmy