I love food. I love to talk about food. I especially like to rant and rave about foods I loved that are no longer available. And unfortunately, a lot of those great food choices we once had are no longer available. Bad for me...good for those of you who like to read about foods I miss.
Be it because of poor sales, packaging restrictions, costs, or for health reasons, a lot of my favorite foods have gone the way of the dinosaur. In one of my earliest articles here on RetroJunk, I detailed several of these foods that are long gone. I came back again with a sequel to that article, and now I'm back with a third installment of Foods Long Gone....or as I call it when talking to myself in my head...The Pain Chronicles. Del Monte Pudding in a Can
Kids who came along in the early 90's and later can have their Hunt's Snack Packs, or their Swiss Miss from the dairy aisle. For me, the king of the hill when it came to pre-packaged pudding was Del Monte's Chocolate Pudding in the can. Not a plastic cup, but in the little metal can! Scientists can conduct all the experiments they want to determine what effects tin and plastic packaging have on the taste of packaged food, but I can save them a little time and sum it for them in one sentence. It just tasted better out of the can! Period. End of story.
Of course fond memories, nostalgia, and many many years of time can mislead the brain when it comes to reality. Maybe it wasn't the metal can that made it taste better. It could have been the fact that I would get this fantastic little treat when visiting my grandmother. She always kept a large supply on hand, because she had 16 grand children, and everyone of us were fans of these little cans of chocolate heaven. More times than I can even start to remember, my cousins and I would sit on her front porch indulging in the magic of those little cans of pudding while talking about important subjects of the day like He-Man, Transformers, and the latest issue of Batman.
When I was sick and out of school, that meant a day at Grandma's to recuperate. And on those days, you were treated to not one, but TWO cans of Del Monte Chocolate pudding. One with lunch, and an extra one "just because" later in the afternoon. You pair those cans of pudding with some Tropicana orange juice out of it's glass bottle, and a can of Chicken Noodle soup, you had a remedy for sickness better than anything a doctor could prescribe.
Nowadays, you can always run to the store to pick up a 4-pack of pudding in cheap plastic cups, but you'll not find that incredible taste that you could enjoy when you popped a top on a can of Del Monte back in the day. Hardees New York Patty Melt
Back in 1992, Hardee's stumbled across a major hit when it introduced it's now legendary Frisco Burger. They combined grilled sourdough bread (in a round slice) with a 1/4 lb burger patty, two slices of Swiss cheese, bacon, mayo, and tomatoes and turned them into a taste masterpiece. After strong sales upon release, they were looking to duplicate that success. Enter the New York Patty Melt.
Introduced roughly 4 months after the launch of the Frisco burger, the New York Patty Melt was the heir apparent to their first hit. Unfortunately, it was not to be. Sales of the Patty Melt didn't come close to those of the Frisco burger, and it was dropped from the menu about 6 months after it's introduction. But man, that was a great six months.
The New York Patty Melt borrowed from it's famous cousin and used a regional favorite bread by using New York Rye. Sliced the same way as the Frisco (round), it too was grilled and paired with a 1/4 lb beef patty. A layer of melted cheese, along with soft grilled onions finished off this burger. Like most kids, I wasn't a big fan of onions, but on this burger, they fit right in. But for me, the real star of this taste sensation was the rye bread. I had never had it before, but this burger moved the bread up my list of favorites in a hurry.
Like most other food items I've mentioned, I was quite disappointed when I went to order it one time only to be told that it was no longer available. If my Father hadn't been standing there beside me, my fourteen year old self may have let out a string of curse words aimed in the cashier's direction. Luckily however, the Frisco Burger was still available, and it ranked pretty high on my list back then too. But for me, it was always the Sundance Kid to the New York Patty Melt's Butch Cassidy.Superman Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is a staple in most American homes. You can find it cabinets, in lunch boxes, and in lunch pails all across this great country. It's patriotic....right behind apple pie. And you know what else is patriotic? Superman by gosh! You slap Superman's name and image on a jar of peanut butter, you have the ultimate weapon against communism.
At least that's what a lot of us kids growing up in the 80's in rural southwest Virginia thought anyway. We'd spend a lot of our time at recess after lunch playing Superman vs The Russians on the school playground. No joke. We had our bellies full of Superman peanut butter and were battling the red menace to keep our playgrounds safe. It was serious business. I even started a super secret spy club in school to help combat the threat that we were exposed to on the news every night. But I digress.
Anyway, I'm not sure Superman peanut butter tasted any better than Skippy, Peter Pan or Jif. Actually, from what I've read online, Superman may have even been a cheaper variety than those others listed. No matter the cost, that brand of peanut butter...it's glass jar, and Superman on the label is what I still identify as the epitome of peanut butter from my childhood.
As a sidebar, I can explicitly remember one distinct point of time when I was eating Superman peanut butter. It was January 28, 1986. We were out of school that day due to snow. I was sitting in the floor of our basement where I usually played, with a Superman peanut butter sandwich in front of me as I watched the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger. It was one of those moments where you always remember where you were and what you were doing....and I had Superman peanut butter to make me feel a little better as I watched those events unfold.O'Boisies Potato Crisps
Those little Keebler elves have made a lot of tasty treats in their day. Unfortunately, a lot of them left the shelves far too quickly. O'Boisies, for me, is the primary example of this. They hit the market in the mid-late 80's and were gone by the early 90's.
Keebler always tried to claim that O'Boisie's weren't a "chip". I'm not sure what they thought they were, but they were the finest example of a potato chip that I can think of. The flavor in these things packed quite a punch. It seemed like they had a higher salt content than other chips, and their main feature were little pockets of air baked into them. This made them one of the crunchier chips I can recall....and when it comes to potato chips, I want them crunchy!
You could get them in Original, Sour Cream & Onion, and BBQ flavors. I've never been a fan of BBQ chips, but I was all in on the other two flavors. You could always find these chips in our pantry for an after school snack, or a Saturday afternoon pick me up while playing Nintendo. But my favorite memory of them is that my Mother and I would sit at night snacking on them while watching Nick at Nite when my Dad was out of town and my bother was at work. And all these years later, she and I will mention them to one another as we reflect back on those good times.McDonald's Superhero Burger
Historically, the Big Mac has always been the largest burger on McDonald's menu. But for one glorious month in 1995, it played second fiddle to the Super Hero Burger. With it's 3 (that's right, 3!) burger patties on a hoagie length bun, with multiple slices of cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and mayo....this sucker was a monster.
The Super Hero burger had two promotional tie-ins attached to it. First and foremost, it was available during the release of the movie Batman Forever, and Batman, Robin, Riddler, and Two-Face all figure prominently in the advertising spots for this burger. Secondly, 1995 was the year that McDonald's released a different burger every month, and this was the Burger of the Month.
I was driving by this point in life, so that meant I spent a fair amount of time "cruising" through town. Most nights, a stop by the local Mickey D's to get a Super Hero burger was on the agenda. My friends and I could have probably kept this item on the menu all by ourselves based on how many of them we consumed, but as expected, when the month ended, so did the Super Hero Burger.
That wraps up Even MORE Foods I Miss. I hope you've enjoyed this little trip down my memory lane. And I really hope if you have memories of any of these items that you'll share them in the comments. I love discussing old foods that are no longer with us....no matter how pain inducing they may be.
For more retro fun, check out my personal blog at www.retroramblings.com