Category: Forgotten Food

General Mills Monster Cereals Reviews

With the spirit of Halloween already in the air, it’s certainly not too early to start enjoying all the cool food treats that come along this time of year.  One of the best, and my personal favorites, are the classic monster cereals from General Mills.  Starting all the way back in 1971, Count Chockula, Frankenberry, Boo Berry, and others have thrilled the taste buds of the young and the young at heart.  Even though they are no longer available all year long, the monster cereals are still highly regarded in the cereal world, and have managed to maintain their great taste for multiple generations.

In celebration of the yearly release of these flavors, and to commemorate the start of the Halloween season, me and the kids sat down with bowls of each cereal to do a taste test and review over on our food review YouTube channel, Our Table.  You can check out all three below, and if you have a minute, chime in with your thoughts and memories on these delectable morsels of spooky goodness.  And if you dig all the cool food and treats this time of year, consider subscribing to the channel as we have Halloween Treat videos going up all month long!

 

 

If you’ve been unable to find these wonderful cereals in your area this year, you can pick up a 3-pack featuring Count Chokula, Frankenberry, and Boo Berry at Amazon with this link.

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Forgotten Food: Modern Crystal Pepsi Review

Ah, Crystal Pepsi.  THe bane of early 90’s soft drinks, and a misfire by Pepsi at the time.  Now, 26 years later, they’ve once again trotted out this gimmick in hopes of finding a new audience.  With all these years of perspective on my side, I decided to pick up this latest version, and along with my daughter JJ, gave it a try on our food review channel over on YouTube.  Try to enjoy.

 

Forgotten Food: Fast Food Edition

 

If you’ve ever read anything I’ve written before, then you already know that I associate nostalgic feelings and memories with food more than any other subject.  I’ve written several pieces in the past diving into the subject, and today, I’m going a little deeper.  This isn’t going to be like the mega post, Back When Pizza Hut Was an Experience, or an angry diatribe like Why Wendy’s Ain’t Like It Used to Be.  No, this is going to be some quick hits about some old fast food choices that I loved, but are no longer available.  As you also know, there are plenty more foods that I miss, but for today, let’s just hit these bygone classics.


 

McDLT

The McDonald’s McDLT 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, the McDLT was one of the best items they created.

It was a 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 the McDLT 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 McDLT when the hot patty met the cold toppings.  What I could never figure out though, was why the slice of cheese was included on the cold side.  To me it would have made much more sense to put it on top of the patty on the hot side so it could get all melty.  But apparently, I’m not a genius like the burger builders at McDonald’s.

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.

 

More Forgotten Food  |  The Time McDonald’s Tried to Sell McPasta

 

When I first discovered it as a kid, I was at the age where I was getting a little old for Happy Meals, and found the McDLT 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.

The timing of the fall of the McDLT kind of lines up perfectly with my ascent to teenager from childhood.  Maybe that’s why it holds such a special place in my memories, and why I miss it so.


Hardee's 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 culinary masterpiece.  After strong sales upon release, they were looking to duplicate that success. Enter the New York Rye 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 Rye Patty Melt borrowed from its 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.

As is the case when doing a piece like this, 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, the Frisco Burger was always the Sundance Kid to the New York Patty Melt’s Butch Cassidy.

These days, the Frisco Burger is still on the menu, and since it has been a top item for over 26 years, Burger has gotten in on the action with their Bacon Swiss King burger.  If you would happen to be wondering how it compares to the original Frisco burger, you can check out the comparison video my daughter and I filmed for her food review Youtube channel.


Chilito

Ah, the Chili Cheese Burrito from Taco Bell.  A lot of people in this world only know it by that name, but back in my day, it was known as “The Chilito”.

It featured chili flavored beef, Taco Bell’s iconic red 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 mid-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.  Way back then, you could count on Taco Bell to deliver the goods, not only in taste, but in value as well.

 

More Forgotten Food  |  KFC’s Modern Chicken Littles Have Nothing on the Originals From the 1980’s

 

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 nationwide.  A while back though, while traveling in North Carolina, I was in a Taco Bell that had a poster up celebrating the triumphant return of the Chilito.  Unfortunately though, I didn’t even notice the poster until I had already placed my order.  Maybe I should have placed a second order, with which I might could have recaptured that magical taste and feeling of the Chilito.  Or, maybe I would have been disappointed by this newer version at a much higher price.  I decided to let things be, and wait until another time to sample the modern Chilito.  I still haven’t, and am not sure I should.  Sometimes the memories are better than what you find today.

Now, at least I stop at just writing about missing the Chilito, but here’s a dude who wrote a whole song about Taco Bell taking it from the menu:


McDonald's Super Hero 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 two different 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 was how we ended our night, and for that month that this super burger was on the menu, it was what we ordered.   We probably could have 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.  Alas, another fast food item was added to my list of fondly remembered food from back in the day.

I’m not the only super fan of the Super Hero Burger, and someone over at DudeFoods.com got tired of waiting for McDonald’s to bring it back, so they tried their hand at creating their own.  You can watch the video here.


In closing, I want to say that I’m thankful to have even gotten to try all of these items in the first place.  My dad would take us out to eat on the weekends when he was in town, and that provided ample opportunity to indulge in so many great menu items from a variety of places.  And as the saying goes, it’s better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all.

So tell me, what extinct fast food items do you miss and wish was still around?  What memories do you associate with them?  We all have a story, and I would love to hear yours!  Just drop me a line in the comments below, and tell me that story.  Heck, I probably have memories of YOUR favorite too.  Also, did you have any experiences with the items on my list above?  Tell me that too!  The next time I talk about food here, it’ll probably be about dining experiences that no longer exist, or my favorite snacks, or something else of the sort.  But until that time comes, hit me up in the comments below, or on Twitter @yesterdayville.

Do You Remember the Cups That Came in Packages of Oatmeal?

Oatmeal Cups

So here is another from the “do you remember?” category….plastic cups that came in boxes of oatmeal.  For years upon years, I never knew this was a thing.  Mainly because I was never around when my Mom opened the new boxes of oatmeal, and also probably because we didn’t buy the brands of oatmeal that was still doing this in the 80’s.

But even though I was totally unaware of this being a thing, I knew all about the cups, and they were favorites of mine.  How is this possible you may be asking, but sit tight and I’ll tell you how I could be at both ends of the spectrum at the same time.

My grandmother on my Mom’s side had a lot of grandkids.  18 of us to be exact, and more times than not, there would be at least 5 or 6 at her house at any given time.  As kids do, one would get thirsty, and so that meant all of us were thirsty, because Lord forbid if one of us was getting something the others weren’t.  So off the kitchen we would go, and we all knew which glasses were for us grandkids to use.  The plastic tumblers in shades of blue, green, yellow, pink, and clear.

Continue reading “Do You Remember the Cups That Came in Packages of Oatmeal?”

Recreating and Reviewing the Diablo Sandwich from Smokey and the Bandit

Diablo Sandwich

This past Friday marked the 41st anniversary of the release date of one of my favorite movies, Smokey and the Bandit!  To celebrate this fact, my daughter and I decided to do a video on her food review YouTube channel where we would take a look at The Diablo Sandwich.  Check out this classic scene from the movie:

The problem was, I had no idea just what the heck a Diablo sandwich actually was.  After doing some digging around on the internet, I found an awesome post on a message board where a user had broken the scene down frame by frame to try and solve the mystery of the Diablo Sandwich.  If you have time, it’s a very fascinating read.  Check out the thread:  Diablo & Doc

So armed with that knowledge, we set out to make this iconic mystery sandwich, and I think we had pretty good luck with it.  CHeck out our YouTube video review of it, and if you enjoy the vibe of the video, consider subscribing to our channel.  We have a lot of reviews up, with more coming on a mostly daily basis.

 

Forgotten Food: Del Monte Pudding in a Can

 

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 every one 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 its 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.

A Brief History of Jolt Cola

Jolt Cola

Way back in 1985, a fellow by the name of CJ Rapp changed the soft industry for years to come with his special concoction that would come to be known as Jolt Cola.  A few years before that though, he was still a student in college.  While he was there, he noticed that his fellow students would mix all kinds of beverages to help them stay awake to finish term papers and study for exams.  So when he was able, he set out working on Jolt.

He eventually packed it with 72 milligrams of caffine…which is the maximum amount allowed by the FDA.  In the mid-80’s, while other soda makers were promoting the idea of “less is more”, and marketed their products with zero caffine or less caffine, sugar, and calories, Rapp made his reputation by going in the opposite direction.  Rapp promoted Jolt by emphasizing that it had twice the caffine found in his competitor’s drinks.  By emphasizing that difference, Rapp gave Jolt Cola high visibility, and it wasn’t long until it was featured on the David Letterman Show, Good Morning America, and CNN.  He even boldly put the difference right on the can with the slogan, “All the Sugar, Twice the Caffine!”.

In 1987, the company began marketing a new low calorie version of Jolt, and then later diversified the line to include new flavors like CHerry Bomb, Citrus Climax, Orange Blast, and more.  In 2005, they revamped the entire line, changed the logo, and even their cans.  Instead of the standard soda can, Jolt was suddenly available in a AA battery shaped, aluminum bottle.  It wasn’t very long after that that they rebranded themselves as an energy drink.  In 2009, Jolt Cola had to file for bankruptcy due to a dispute over pricing for their distinctive cans with their supplier.

But now it’s 2018, and Jolt Cola is again on the market!  Since it returned in August of 2017, it has only been available at Dollar General Stores, but it’s available in all of their stores nation-wide.  You can also pick up a 4-pack of 16 oz. cans on Amazon.  But how does this latest generation on Jolt Cola stack up to it’s predecessor?  Check out my review in the video below: