August 2nd, 2005

flavored with age

God help me, I'm becoming James Lileks

Yesterday’s post about tragically discontinued food items naturally sent me scurrying to Hometown Favorites, my favorite ever shopping site, to check their “Gone Forever” pages. And this led me to a veritable cornucopia of discontinued foodstuff, good, bad, and inexplicable. Like:

BLAMMO and DUBBLE BUBBLE BUBBLE GUM. These were perennial Halloween and kindly-neighbor treats when I was a lad. It’s hard to believe they’re gone, although really, it’s not much of a loss, because both of them tasted like ass.

CAMPBELL’S CREAM OF CHICKEN DIJON SOUP. This was actually really good stuff, and a great base for recipes, but I’m assuming it disappeared because people just figured out they could get the same effect by adding Dijon mustard to regular cream of chicken soup.

CHICKEN DINNER CANDY BAR. What? What in God’s name? What sort of abomination was this?

COKE II. Man, the single most disastrous product roll-out in history. What a goddamn nightmare. Even as recently as a few years back, you could find this at dollar stores, feebly collecting dust, begging for a second chance, but now it’s as dead as the dodo. It’s sad, really.

DENVER SANDWICH CANDY BAR. From the makers, one assumes, of the Chicken Dinner Candy Bar.

EAGLE SNACKS. Another huge and ultimately disastrous product roll-out, this was a line of snacks put out by Anheuser-Busch and designed to topple the Lay’s/Doritos salty chip stranglehold. It failed.

FRANCO-AMERICAN MACARONI AND CHEESE. I can’t believe this is gone! It was amazing. It was this canned, pale-yellow glop that bore absolutely no resemblance to any other variety of mac & cheese in the world: wet, stringy, no discernable cheese flavor, and foot-long tubes of macaroni. It was really weird, but oddly ubiquitous; hard to imagine it is no more.

HIDDEN VALLEY GREEN GODDESS DRESSING. Another product that was so omnipresent in my youth it’s amazing to think you can’t get it any more. I’m not exactly sure what it was; it was a mist-green, gloppy, creamy salad dressing with indefinable flavors (a hint of avocado here, a whiff of cucumber there, a wash of chemical varnish everywhere), and it covered many a wedge of iceberg lettuce at the church socials of my childhood.

HOSTESS PUDDING PIES & PUDDING CAKES. Man! These were fucking awesome! Bring these back, and give them a superhero one-pager like in the old comics. “LOBO VS. THE SCRUMINUCKERS IN: PUDDING PIE PISS-TAKE”! “BLADE MEETS THE VOMITING VAMPIRE IN: PUDDING CAKE STAKE”!

KAYO SODA. This was some kind of low-rent version of Yoo-Hoo, I think, with an impossibly bland label.

MALTEASER CANDY BARS. Man, I hope this doesn’t mean they’re gone forever, but maybe just no longer available in the U.S. In fact, that must be the case, because the “British Imports” section of my local Jewel still has them. Anyway, fiberpunk will be heartbroken if they’ve been discontinued for good.

MILKY WAY LITE. The Midnight bars stayed, the Lites vanished. Proving people have zero interest in candy bars that are good for you.

OSCAR MEYER CHILI DOGS. If you never saw these, you were spared one of the most hideous sights in crappy processed food history: a sad fatty pink dog, scooped out and the hollow filled with awful congealed chili, all designed to incinerate the skin in your mouth when you ate them.

PATIO SODA. This was not, in fact, a soda made from the squeezings of patio furniture, but a grade-Z fruit soda. What Kayo was to Yoo-Hoo, Patio was to Fanta.

PLANTER’S TAVERN NUTS. I had me a really bad case of tavern nuts, once.

RC EDGE COLA. This was a short-lived “extreme soda” with, like, electrolytes and supplements and shit, but no one bought it because it was RC.

RAGU CHICKEN TONIGHT. Remembered now only for the horribly shrill and annoying commercial jingle that accompanied it.

REGGIE BAR. Why are there no more Reggie Bars? Not only was it named for the super-cool Reggie Jackson, but it was a damn good candy bar! They didn’t stop making Baby Ruth bars when Babe Ruth died. Come on already! Bring that shit back!

RUFFLES FLAVOR RUSH POTATO CHIPS. The theory behind these was that what people like about potato chips is as much chalky, raspy coating as possible, so they took a Ruffles chip and dunked it in about eighteen layers of ‘flavoring’ until it was like eating a potato chip that had been doused in nacho cheese talcum powder. Horrid.


SOUR DUDES. These guys broke up when the whole goth thing fell apart, I believe.

TEEM SODA. If memory serves me right, this was a cheap-ass version of Shasta, itself a cheap-ass version of Patio, itself a cheap-ass version of Fanta. So basically, it was a grade-Z imitation of a grade-F duplicate of a grade-B knockoff of a soda that wasn’t that good in the first place. The barbershop where I got my hair cut as a lad featured what was probably the only Teem machine in the history of carbonation.

WILLIE WONKA SUBCULTURE CANDIES. Everyone knows about Nerds, but apparently, that sick bastard Willie Wonka once had a whole line of sugary treats named after cruel junior-high nicknames, including Dweebs and Punkys. No, really! There were also “Skrunch Bars”, which I guess were for bulimic cheerleaders.

XPLODER BAR: Probably for after you finish the Chicken Dinner bar.

Will I ever post about something other than crappy consumer food items again? Who knows?