Hello RJer's, I'm back with more tales of How I Spent My Childhood! In this article I talk about some more foods I miss from days long gone. I had done a previous installment of this topic a long time ago and if you missed it, check it out here...
How I Spent My Childhood: Foods Long Gone
While technically, this is still available, it's just not the same as it was in the beginning. The can has changed, and there is no longer many advertising dollars spent on it. Today, you know it simply as Caffeine Free Pepsi.
Back in 1982, Pepsi became the first major soda company to introduce a caffeine free soda to their product line. They pumped a lot of advertising dollars into the launch, and continued to heavily promote it through it's life span.
The original can was a reddish orange in color, with a blue logo outlined in white and struck quite an image to a young soda fan like myself. While not really knowing what it even was, I was hooked by the can design, the promotion of this hot new thing, and the "taste". I swore to everyone that it was the best tasting soda on the market.
Everywhere I spotted a Pepsi machine while out and about with my old man, I begged for him to buy me Pepsi Free, and he would oblige. At this point in life I'm assuming that he was more than happy to supply a can of "pop" without as much kick as other sodas so he may hopefully get a little peace and quite in the afternoon without a wired child running around.
The product in it's original name was phased out in 1987. From that point on, it was known simply as Caffeine Free Pepsi. Urban legend also suggests that a scene in Back to the Future helped contribute to it's demise.Chilito
Ah, the Chili Cheese Burrito from Taco Bell. A lot of people in this world only know it by that name, but it's official menu name was the Chilito.
It featured chili flavored beef, taco sauce, and melted cheese rolled up in a soft flour tortilla and would run you anywhere from $0.69 to $0.99, depending on the time frame when you enjoyed them. For me, that time frame was the early 90's after I started driving. My friends and I on small budgets, due to part time jobs, would load up on these due to their cheapness on nights of cruising around.
Taco Bell had these available from the late 80's through the early 90's before discontinuing them as a regular menu item. Some franchises decided to keep them however, and you can still find them on the menu in roughly 12% of Taco Bell stores nation wide. Just last week though while traveling in North Carolina, I was in a Taco Bell that had a poster up celebrating the triumphant return of the Chilito. I did not even notice the poster though until I had already placed my order. I travel constantly though, and will be on the lookout for them from now on.
This one gets mentioned on it's fair share of fondly remembered foods list, and for good reason. Of all the great, and horrible, things to ever grace the menu of McDonalds, this was one of the best items they created.
It was burger in similar size as Burger King's Whopper sandwich, and featured mostly the same ingredients. A quarter pound beef patty, lettuce, tomato, mayo, cheese, pickles, and ketchup on a toasted sesame seed bun. The beauty of this burger though was it's packaging. It came in one of McDonald's signature styrofoam containers. But this one was slightly different. It featured two separate compartments instead of one.
On one side, the bottom bun and burger patty rested, while on the other was the rest of the toppings and the top bun. This allowed the hot parts to remain separate from the cold parts until you were ready to put it together and eat. And that was the brilliance of it all. A fresh tasting burger when the hot patty met the cold toppings.
It was released in the early 80's to much fanfare, but was eventually pulled in 1990 due to pressure from environmental groups protesting their use of the styrofoam containers. Once the divided container was gone, so was the magic of this burger. It was later re-released as the Big 'n' Tasty burger, but without the separated ingredients, the burger fell flat.
As a kid, I was getting a little old for Happy Meals, and found this to be a perfectly acceptable replacement for it. I'm guessing it was basically the novelty of it that turned me on to it, but it was a great burger in it's own right so that kept me coming back for more.
As a side note, McDonald's lost a little luster to me with the fall of those original containers. Each container was a different color to represent what was held inside, and even the McNuggets had a little compartment built in to hold the sauce cup. I understand the environmental impact and agree with the decision to stop using them, but dang, they looked cool, and figure prominently in my memories of McDonald's and childhood in general.
Well, that wraps up this installment of Yesterdays. I'll be back soon with more. Please leave your memories of these foods in the comments section, and if you'd like to further reminisce about them, check out my blog, How I Spent My Childhood at www.howispentmychildhood.com