Category: Forgotten Food

Back When Pizza Hut Was an Experience – The Video!

One of the most popular things I’ve ever done here on Retro Ramblings was my post on how Pizza Hut used to be so awesome called, Back When Pizza Hut Was an Experience.  It has been by far the biggest attention getter, so when I thought about doing a YouTube video for the site, it was only fitting that it would be the first subject I tackled.

Now this video is a little rough around the edges as it’s my first attempt at editing for YouTube. But check it out and try to enjoy me rambling on about what I miss from Pizza Hut back in the day.

Forgotten Food: Dr. Pepper Bubble Gum of the 80’s

 

Dr. Pepper Gum

In the late 80’s, we were drowning in a sea of gum choices as kids. In those days, gum still came in packs of trading cards, it came all shredded in a pouch meant to resemble chewing tobacco, heck….it even came in a round stick wrapped in paper to mimic cigarettes!

But a new fad hit the shelves when bubble gum with liquid centers hit the market. I don’t recall what the first gum was to showcase the new feature, but I DO remember the first one to make a “splash”, and it was Dr. Pepper gum. It was a simple concept. It was gum that tasted like Dr. Pepper, with a liquid center that also tasted like Dr. Pepper. What a concept.

As a kid in those days, one of the few things your life revolved around was soda, and all of a sudden we had a gum that tasted like soda! Life couldn’t get much better. For those of you who have read my previous articles, you’ll know that my parents rarely felt the need to buy into gimmicks or fads, but when it came to this gum, they were both happy to pay for a pack of it whenever I would throw it up on the checkout counter.

Maybe one day, some company will get it right and start a new wave of liquid center bubble gum. Until then, I’ll just have to chew on the memories.

While doing a little surfing on the net while writing this, I found out that you can purchase Dr. Pepper Gum today from several online vendors. However, upon reading the reviews, people say that it doesn’t taste like the great Dr. Pepper gum of old.

KFC’s Modern Chicken Littles Have Nothing on the Originals From the 80’s

Chicken Littles

 

A couple of years ago, the TV was on in the background, and my daughters were watching some show that I usually wouldn’t give two damns about.  It was probably something like iCarly or Hannah Montana, or some other drivel from the embarrassment that is modern Nickelodeon.    The show went to commercial and I carried on with what I was doing. All of a sudden I was hit by a bolt of delicious lightning! For on the tv behind me, I was hearing a commercial for KFC’s return of the Chicken Littles sandwiches!!! I bolted to the tv just to see and hear the end of that commercial that advertised the return of the greatest hand-held chicken sandwich in history.

I immediately started making plans to visit my local KFC to once again dine on this fine treat.  I couldn’t make the trip immediately, and it was a couple of days later before I rolled into my local KFC and ordered my Chicken Littles with great excitement.

More Fast Food:  That Time McDonald’s Tried to Sell McPasta

I was horribly disappointed when I unwrapped the precious sandwich that I had missed for many years.  “What is this? This ain’t no Chicken Little!  What kind of sick joke are these people trying to pull here?”

You see, in the 80’s, when they were known as Kentucky Fried Chicken and not the metro sounding KFC, they had the perfect sandwich. The original Chicken Littles were the size of a common White Castle Slider or Krystal Burger. In fact, it featured the same kind of bun. It had a simple, thin chicken patty on it along with a pickle and a thin spread of mayo. It was simple. It was perfect.

 

Chicken Littles

 

As I’ve stated before, my mother and I ate out a lot when my dad traveled. At the time these were in stores, I want to say you could pick up Chicken Littles for 3 / $1.00 or something like that, which made it a simple choice to say yes to for my mother.

Continue reading “KFC’s Modern Chicken Littles Have Nothing on the Originals From the 80’s”

That Time When McDonald’s Tried to Sell McPasta

McPasta

 

McDonald’s has tried a lot of off the wall menu items in their time. Some are fondly remembered like the McD.L.T., and others are still scorned to this day (I’m looking at you here Arch Deluxe). But a few products have come along that most of the population totally missed out on, and McPasta was one of them.

In 1990, McDonald’s decided they would try to add some entrees to their menu that weren’t hamburgers or Chicken McNuggets. They dreamed up this concept of McPasta dishes and roasted chicken legs, and felt sure it would be a big hit. Before they released it to the masses though, they went the test market route.

A small area in New York was selected, as well as chain of franchise stores in Northeast Tennessee for this new line of McPasta products. Fortunately, I lived in a part of southern Virginia where that franchisee had two locations, and they put the product in those two stores as well.

You can check out the New York Post story on this test from 1991 here.

What they offered was a selection of Spaghetti, Spaghetti with Meatballs, Lasagna, and Fettuccine Alfredo. Each dish came with a garlic bread stick as well. They also decided to offer roasted chicken legs as a side item, as well as mashed potatoes. How those last two items fit in to the McPasta lineup I’ve yet to figure out.

Continue reading “That Time When McDonald’s Tried to Sell McPasta”

Do You Remember Morning Funnies Cereal?

 

Morning Funnies Cereal

If you’ve ever read much of what I’ve written, you should know by now that food is one of the more nostalgic things in my life.  I can tie so many great memories to different foods, meals, and restaurants that I could probably do this whole blog focusing just on food.  So in keeping with that tradition, I want to talk just a minute about one of my favorite cereals from the 80’s, Morning Funnies.

Morning Funnies Cereal was produced by Ralston Cereals in 1988 & 1989. It was a super sweet cereal, bright in color and shaped like smiley faces.  The taste and shape wasn’t the hook for this cereal though…..the box was. The box featured comic strips on the front and back panels. In addition, the back of the box featured a full size flap that opened up and featured even more comics on the inside. The company actually won an award in 1988 for “innovative packaging” for the fifth panel design.

The comics featured were Dennis the Menace, Beetle Bailey, Hagar the Horrible, Hi and Lois, Family Circus, Luann, Marvin, Funky Winkerbean, and What A Guy!.  Not a bad lineup, but still it left something to be desired when Garfield, Peanuts, and The Far Side were all the rage at the point this cereal was on the market.

 

 

Morning Funnies Cereal

 

The cereal was canceled in 1989 due to poor sales. The ultra sweetness of the cereal turned off parents, and the lack of fresh cartoons turned off the kids.

From my own experiences, I remember seeing the commercials for the cereal and feeling that I just had to have it. For one thing, it was part of my morning ritual to read the funny pages from the newspaper while I ate breakfast every morning, so this cereal seemed right up my alley.

More Food Stuff:  Back When Pizza Hut Was An Experience | Why Wendy’s Ain’t Like It Used To Be

 

My mother bought just one box. She rarely went for gimmicky cereal like this, but caved under my constant pressure. I don’t remember what the cereal tasted like, but I do remember enjoying reading those comics on the box…..at least for the first two or three mornings. After that, the novelty faded and I was back to reading the fresh daily comics from the newspaper.  I remember looking at the comics on the boxes at the grocery store, and they were all the same.  Maybe if they had different strips on different boxes in the same case, it could have led to more sales.  As it were, you could grow very tired of seeing the same strip every morning.

It seemed like a good idea at the time, but quickly fizzled in execution. However, I would love to see it back on the shelves at the local grocer just to give it one more shot.

Other people who remember Morning Funnies Cereal and have written about it:

Dinosaur Dracula
Retroist
Saturday Mornings Forever

 

Top 5: Favorite Happy Meal Toys

 

Each Tuesday I do a quick “Top 5” list, and instead of doing some kind of big write up, I do it in pictures instead.  I’d love to see others join in the fun as well and chime in on the same topic on your own site, social channel, Instagram, podcast, or wherever you share your opinions online.  I’ll be posting under the tag #Top 5, so if you do the same we can all see everyone else’s list.

This week, it’s my Top 5 Favorite Happy Meal Toys.  Let’s go to the list…..

 

Dukes of Hazzard Happy Meal

Duke of Hazzard Vacuform Containers

These hit McDonald’s in 1982, and with their plastic bodies, the boxes were great for crashing into each other while re-creating scenes from the show.

 

Construx Happy Meal

Construx Action Building System

I absolutely loved Construx toys, and certainly didn’t miss out on the free sets when they were in the Happy Meals in 1986.

 

Berenstain Bears Happy Meal

Berenstain Bears Toys

In 1987, I was all in on the Berenstain Bear books and the cartoon that was on Saturday mornings at the time, so these were a natural fit for me.  These were probably the Happy Meal toys that I anticipated more than any other.

 

Halloween Happy Meal

Halloween Pails

These have been offered around Halloween on and off for years ever since 1987.  I loved using these things to collect my candy in while trick-or-treating on Halloween night.

 

Super Looney Tunes

I loved the idea of these things, as their costumes came off to reveal their alter egos.  Two toys in one!  The Tasmanian Devil/Flash was all kinds of cool.

Dave over at Banzai Retro Club is playing along again this week, so check out his Top 5 Happy Meal Toys as well!

 

So what about you? What were some of YOUR favorite Happy Meal toys?   If you don’t want to jump in fully on social media, then chime in in the comments section below.  I want to see what fads you were really into too!

 

Vintage Holiday Recipes From 1967

I recently came across an issue of McCall’s magazine from December of 1967, and while getting lost in all the great advertising, I stumbled upon some fun and tasty looking recipes from that magical year.  The Christmas season always brings along it’s own unique blend of tasty treats that are usually reserved for the holiday and not many other times of the year.  So chances are these recipes only saw print a few times through the years.  Well today, we’re pulling these old recipes out and sharing them with the world!

 

While all the food on this spread looks pretty tempting, the only recipe given is for the Cream Wafers that are pictured at bottom right.  They seem easy enough to make, and look pretty dang good too!  The main thing I’ve picked up on in these old recipes, and you’ll see as we go along, is they call for butter and not margarine.  These are my kind of people right here!

Now I know that aluminum foil isn’t food, but Reynolds Wrap got in on the game with some “recipes” of their own to try and move more of their product by giving you ideas of things to do with it.  You can wrap a child’s present with it, Christmas candles look more “gala” when they have some foil curled around them.  From the looks of things, I guess bunching a big glob of it up and sitting the candle in it as a base works too.  It even says you can line your fireplace with it to reflect it’s glowing warmth.

Now this one is certainly one of my favorites, as it features the always delicious snack, Bugles!  It also features Whistles and Daisy’s, but they are no longer on the market, so we just have to settle for what we can get.  As much as I love Bugles, I am more than a bit disappointed I missed out on ever trying the other two offerings.

I’m not so sure about the dip though.  Cream Cheese, Blue Cheese, and onions mixed with Cheddar and other stuff doesn’t sound too appealing to me.  Maybe it does you.

Continue reading “Vintage Holiday Recipes From 1967”