Category: Long Form

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.

Big Money No Whammies! The Michael Larson Story

Press Your Luck Michael Larson

 

A few weeks ago, Jason Gross released another episode of his Rediscover the 80’s podcast.  Along with frequent co-host Wyatt, they reminisced about their favorite game shows from their youth, and Press Your Luck came up.  Jason started relaying to Wyatt bits and pieces of the story of Michael Larson and his incredible performance on an episode from the mid-80’s.  I remember the episode well, and had since learned more about, so I thought I would put a piece together to detail the incredible story of how one man rose up and conquered a game show.  So, for your approval, I submit to you Big Money No Whammies:  The Michael Larson Story.


Michael larson

Back in May of 1984, a 35-year-old former ice-cream truck driver from Lebanon Ohio named Michael Larson flew to California to audition for the CBS game show, Press Your Luck.  Michael was no ordinary contestant though.  He was a man who had spent quite a lot of time studying the show, and was more than prepared when he got his break to appear on the show.

Most people who get to be contestants on game shows spend a fair amount of time preparing for them.  Larson had went well beyond what a normal contestant would though.  He had filled his home with televisions that he never turned off.  He would watch for hours on end, trying to find ways to get rich, spending most of his time focusing on infomercial schemes and game shows.  After searching for countless hours, he finally found his angle.  He would “press his luck” to earn his fortune.

The premise of the Press Your Luck game show was simple.  There was a rectangular game board that was filled with squares that indicated different cash amounts.  The contestants would take turns “spinning” the game board.  The squares would light up in what seemed to be a random order, and the player would press a button to stop the “spin”.  Lights would illuminate the square they stopped on, and they won whatever amount was in that square.  In addition to cash prizes, there were also other prizes like vacations, pool tables, or sailboats for example.  The squares to stay away from though, were the “Whammy” squares that featured a little cartoon drawing of a devil that would wipe out their entire winnings.  The players would amass as much money and prizes as they could, try to keep their turns going by winning as many free spins as possible, and trying to avoid Whammies at all costs.

Press Your Luck Game Board

But after watching the show for hours on end, Larson realized that the blinking board wasn’t exactly as unpredictable as it appeared to be.  With the use of VCR technology and a whole lot of pausing and rewinding, he discovered that the board followed five distinct patterns, which he was able to memorize.  He knew that if he could only get onto the game show, he would be able to control the board in any way he wanted….stopping on big money and free spins without landing on the dreaded Whammies….and he could make a fortune.

Larson didn’t really have any money though, so to even get on the show, he had to borrow air fare from his home in central Ohio to California, and he bought the shirt he wore on the show at a thrift store for just $0.65.  With that part of the plan all set, all he had to worry about was actually getting picked to be on the show.  He had watched more than enough episodes to know what kind of contestant the producers were looking for.  He knew that he couldn’t look cocky or confident, so during the screening process, he acted perky, excited, and self-deprecating.  The act worked, because he made it onto the show the same day he auditioned.  He continued his act from his audition onto the show….being overly excited, bouncing in his seat, cheering on his fellow competitors, and even taking shots at himself when asked personal questions by the host, Peter Tomarken.  At one point, Tomarken asked Larson what he’d do with the money if he won, and Larson responded, “hopefully I’ll make enough so I won’t have to drive the ice-cream truck next summer.”

Michael Larson

After the first round of generic questions that were always asked in order for the contestants to earn spins, Larson was the first to get his turn on the board.  On his first spin, he stopped on a Whammy.  This was likely part of his plan to avoid suspicion since he had no money to lose to a Whammy.  On his next spins, he collected a modest $2500.  His two opponents on the show, Ed Long and Janie Litras, earned $4,080 and $4,608 respectively.  That ended the first round, and after a commercial break, it would be Larson’s turn on the board once again.  He wouldn’t be so modest with this set of spins.

On his first spin, he hit one of the best spots on the board:  $4,000 plus a Free Spin.  He followed that up with $5,000 and a Free Spin.  Next was $1,000 and a Free Spin.  And he just kept going.  He spun the board 40 consecutive times, and never hit a Whammy.  Not only was he not hitting Whammies, he kept purposely landing on the big money squares that also contained Free Spins.  Normally, contestants would hit a Whammy somewhere between 5 and 10 spins, but Larson shattered that average with his amazing performance.  When he finally decided to pass his remaining spins, he had racked up $102,851 and a couple of trips and other prizes.  The cash amount was so large, the show had to drop the dollar sign from his podium display, because it was only designed for 5 digits of earnings, but Larson had shocked the system and ran his winnings up to 6 digits.

Michael larson

For his first 15 spins or so, the mood on the set was electric.  The crowd was cheering him on to keep spinning, his fellow contestants were shocked and amazed at his performance, and host Peter Tomarken was simply astounded.  But you know who wasn’t excited?  The producers back in the control room, that’s who.  It didn’t take very long for the producers to suspect that not all was on the up and up.  They quickly assessed that Larson wasn’t just lucky, but that he had some kind of system in play.  Unfortunately for them, there wasn’t anything they could do about it because as far as they could tell, he wasn’t breaking any rules.

As Larson continued to rack up the big money and free spins, the mood of his fellow contestants changed.  You could see they were losing their patience as all they could do was sit there and watch him play.

 

Press Your Luck Scandal

Michael’s turn took so long, that one single half-hour episode couldn’t contain his entire turn, so it had to be broken up into a two-part episode.  Even though they weren’t happy with his performance, the producers knew that this was newsworthy, and could potentially be a ratings grabber if advertised correctly.  To have enough content from the game to completely fill two episodes, Tomarken recorded an interview with Larson.

Normally, winners on Press Your Luck were invited back on the following episode to defend their title, but that offer was not extended to Michael Larson.  CBS rules stated that any contestant who’d won more than $25,000 couldn’t come back.  That little rule robbed the world of seeing just how far Michael Larson could go.

The two episodes aired on Friday June 8, and Monday June 11, 1984.  That was the only time those episodes would see the light of day for almost 20 years.  CBS was so embarrassed by what had happened that they locked the episodes away in their vault.  In later years, when USA and the Game Show Network bought the syndication rights to air old episodes, CBS refused to let them air the Michael Larson shows.

So What Happened to Michael Larson After Press Your Luck?

Since Larson hadn’t really done anything illegal, he was allowed to keep his $110,237, of which he had to pay $30,000 in taxes.  After returning home, he put $30,000 into a real estate venture that ended up being a Ponzi Scheme, so he had quickly lost over half of his winnings.

In November of 1984, Larson hit on his next big money-making idea.  Everyday, a radio station in Dayton Ohio would host a contest where contestants could win a cool $30,000.  They would read off a set of serial numbers from a $1 bill, and if you could find the $1 bill with the matching number, you would be the winner.  Since the radio station allowed several days to find each bill and collect the winnings, Larson thought he had time to sort through plenty of them and find a winner.

Larson deposited the remainder of his Press Your Luck winnings into several banks, and then withdrew all of it in $1 bills.  He had so many bills that he bundled them, and stored them in trash bags and burlap sacks.Once he sat down and started sifting through bills looking for winners, it didn’t take long for him to figure out that it would take a week or more just to go through half the money he had on hand.  He put half of the money back in the bank, and kept about $40,000 on hand for the contest.

Eventually, staring at serial numbers all day can make you tired and cranky, so he and his female friend decided to go see friends at a Christmas party.  While they were at the party having a good time, Larson’s house was broken into and robbed, meaning all of that cash was stolen and now gone.  Larson suspected that his female friend had a hand in the robbery, and their relationship deteriorated quickly after that.  Eventually, after fearing for her life with Larson around, she kicked him out.

Larson bounced around from job to job after that, eventually ending up as an assistant manager of a Wal-Mart.  In 1995, he suddenly picked up and left Ohio.  Family and friends later discovered that he was under investigation for his part in a lottery scheme that robbed over 20,000 people out of over $3 million dollars.  He was never prosecuted for the crime, but eventually passed away of throat cancer in 1999.

Remember how I mentioned earlier that CBS locked the episodes away in their vault for almost 20 years?  Well, they finally agreed to let them air in 2003.  That year, the Game Show Network produced a documentary about Larson’s incredible game called Big Bucks:  The Press Your Luck Scandal, which included footage from those episodes.  

On the same night the documentary aired, GSN broadcast a special edition of their Press Your Luck revival series called Whammy!.  They invited back Larson’s competitors from 1984, Ed Long and Janie Litras.  The third contestant on  the show was Michael’s brother, James Larson.  And wouldn’t you know who won the pony….James Larson walked away the winner, leaving Long and Litras to feel disappointed at the hands of a Larson once again.

If you would like to relive the incredible series of events on the game show, you can watch both episodes below.

And why stop there?  Go ahead and watch the 2003 episode of Whammy! featuring Michael’s brother James.

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?”

Going on Wagon Train in the 1980’s

Wagon Train

As I was growing up, I was fortunate enough to be able to take a lot of vacations.  Well, vacations may be the wrong word. Working vacations, road trips, or just getting away from home are all probably better labels for what we had.

Those of you who have read much of what I’ve written will remember that my Dad had a business that required a lot of travel.  We were fortunate in the fact that since he owned the business, he was free to take the family along on any trip he pleased. If he had a trip to make that would take him close by anything of significance, he would load the family up and take us along with him for a few days.

Now while this meant there were never any trips to places like Disney World or Six Flags, what it did mean was that I got to see a whole lot of this great country. The numerous trips also instilled in me a love for travel that has never died, and I eventually went on to take a job that required me to travel quite extensively for a decade myself, partly because of the nostalgia of all the trips from my youth.

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5 Nostalgic Things We Miss From the 80’s

Nostalgic 80s Header

(The following is a sponsored guest post from StickerYou.com)

The ‘80s, what an amazing time. So amazing, that pop culture is currently flooded with inspiration and nostalgia from this incredible era. It’s safe to say the ‘80s are back, baby – and they’ll hopefully be around for quite some time! Today, we’re going to have a nice tall glass of nostalgia, and remember some of the quintessential ‘80s feats. Here are the top 5 things we can all admit we miss from our past:

 

80s Music

‘80s Music

Arguably home to the best music era of all time, the ‘80’s gave birth to some of the most talented and interesting artists and jams – music from this time will forever be iconic and live on through the generations. From Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin”, music from the ‘80s was unique and filled with character, emotion, and raw talent. Alongside this, these jams were also insanely quotable and poetic. After all.. we built this city on Rock and Roll! If you have a favourite memorable quote from a song, why not make it into a custom vinyl wall decal? At StickerYou, we make it easy to write your personal expression on any wall with our vinyl lettering editor.

 

Slap Bracelets

Slap Bracelets

Who doesn’t miss the satisfying snap sound of successfully wrapping your slap bracelet around your wrist, or slapping them over an unsuspecting wrist? Invented in 1983, this viral fashion trend was a simple piece of long steele, similar to steele tape, covered in fabric – the more flashy the fabric, the better. This toy surely echoes in the minds of any ‘80s kid, and was a perfect pairing to your favourite choker or platform shoes. When it comes to kids, the appeal of simple and easy-to-use gadgets is vastly overrated – sometimes less is more! I think it’s fair to say we were all addicted to this awesome accessory.

 

Mix Tape

Mixtapes

Mixtapes were homemade compilations of music, and one of the best ways to show your personal expression and love for artists – curating the order of your custom mixtape cassette was certainly considered a form of high art and talent! Although they were later placed by USBs and CDs, cassette mixtapes were a crucial part of youth culture, and even made a great gift to a friend or somebody you fancy. Music compilations will forever be an awesome and fun hobbie, regardless of your age!

 

Retro Gaming

Retro Gaming

The ‘80s was the birth era of many amazing consoles that are still around and adored by folks today, and is often referred to as the golden age of arcade games. This is the time period that video games began entering pop culture, and became a huge force in the lives of everyone. The Nintendo Entertainment System was released in the mid ‘80s, and The Sega Genesis was released in 1988. Many of these consoles are still kickin’ around today, and can be considered a collectors item! If you can’t get your hands on one of these retro systems, why not rep your passion with some custom retro gaming stickers? If you don’t see any artwork you love, you can always upload your own custom artwork to our Sticker Maker, and create your custom stickers order in a matter of minutes!

 

80s Fashion

The Fashion

Ahh.. the fashion. The ‘80s were a decade of wild dance-inspired clothing and hair trends. Fanny packs, velour, patches, scrunchies, shoulder pads, spandex, and many more awesome trends had their peak moments. A lot of these trends have come back into modern day fashion, and will be referenced by many future generations of well-dressed individuals.

 

Overall, it’s safe to say the ‘80s were a very memorable time, filled with endless nostalgia and recollections. We’ll never get tired of reliving the awesome trends, and we hope you don’t either!

(This has been a sponsored guest post from StickerYou.com)

8 Board Games I Love

Board games have long occupied space in closets and on book shelves, and have entertained families of all types and sizes for decades. While growing up, my brother and I spent many days and hours playing games, just like my daughters do today.

I admit, when the original Nintendo came along, I spent far less time with the conventional board game, and shifted most of my focus to video games. Even so, I have so many fond memories attached to board games, so here today I’m taking a trip down memory lane to look at six of my favorite board games from days gone by, and two more recent ones.


Monopoly

Monopoly

When I hear “board game”, Monopoly is the first thing that comes to mind. I would consider it the “Boardwalk” of board games, while all the others are “Vermont Ave” or “St. James Place”.

The current recognized version was first published in 1935 by Parker Brothers. It underwent a major resign in 2008 that saw Mediterranean and Baltic Avenues colors from purple to brown, and GO from red to black. It also changed the Income Tax to a flat $200, and upped Luxury Tax from the original $75 to $100.

When I was a kid, my family would play, but in the beginning, I was too young to be in on the game. When my time finally came, I instantly fell in love with it. I thought I was a big deal when I could barter my way to a “Get Out of Jail Free” card, or buy Oriental Ave. Unfortunately, I didn’t understand back then how the game worked and would usually be quickly put out of the game due to faulty business decisions.

As I grew older, I graduated from playing with family to playing with friends, where the playing field was a little more level. As an adult, my friends and I came up with a set of additional rules that we called “Survival Monopoly”. It threw in things like “everyone moves one chair to the left”, meaning that you now owned all of your neighbor’s property, and left yours behind to be taken over by someone else.

From the simple color schemes, to the simple rules, playing this board game these days always takes me back to another place in time. A place when I was sitting in front of the fire-place, with my brother and my folks enjoying the evening together. It’s one of the things that brings back some of the strongest feelings of nostalgia within me, and makes me ache to go back. But at the same time, the game helps me stay anchored in the present, as I love to play the game with my daughters. I see in their faces the same joys of playing the game that I have always experienced, and know that I am helping to create in them something that one day they will look back on with similar nostalgic feelings.

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Retro Round Table: Foods We Miss

It’s time once again for another Retro Round Table!  This time, we’re talking about our most missed foods from day’s gone by.  There have been a lot of fast food choices and snacks that have come and gone over the years, and we are all nostalgic about one or more of them.  I write all the time about foods I miss, and could do an entire list by myself.  But there’s more than just me in this world that miss these great old snacks, so once again I invited some friend to share their memories too.  I’m joined today as usual by Hoju Koolander from the SequelQuest Podcast, Jason Gross from Rediscover the 80’s, Eric Vardeman from Eric V Music, and new to the round table starting this week, we welcome in Spyda-Man from the great retro blog, 20 Years Before 2000!  Let’s get to it and see what we miss!


Crunch Tators

The retro food I miss most has to be Crunch Tators by Frito Lays. They were hot and spicy potato chips with a really hard crunch and were available in the late 80’s and early 90’s. There was an alligator on the front of the bag for some odd reason that I could never figure out and they came in two flavors: “Hoppin’ Jalapeno” and “Mighty Mesquite BBQ”. They remind me of my freshman and sophomore years of college. Ate ’em all the time.
Incidentally, A bag of the “Mighty Mesquite BBQ” flavor chips can be seen in Home Alone (probably my all time favorite Christmas movie) in the scene where Kevin is watching Angels with Filthy Souls and eating a rather large ice cream sundae.
– Eric Vardeman
Give Eric a follow on Twitter at @Eric_Vardeman, and you can find his retro memories right here on Retro Ramblings!  His new weekly feature here on Retro Ramblings, Music Mondays, is awesome too.  He looks back at the songs gracing the Top 40 list from 35 years ago in 1983!  He’s also a talented singer/songwriter, and you should check out his music at EricVMusic

McJordan Special

Let me set the stage for you…The year was 1992 and The Dream Team was taking the world by storm in Barcelona, the Chicago Bulls were coming off their second consecutive NBA championship and Michael Jordan was the biggest sports figure in the universe! Jordan’s celebrity led to endorsement deals including everything from NIKE to Gatorade to McDonalds! Not one to pass on a cash grab, McDonalds created the McJordan Special burger in his Airness’s honor! This exquisite burger consisted of a quarter pound beef patty, cheese, onions, pickles, bacon and a special BBQ sauce! Jugs of this limited-edition BBQ sauce show up on eBay from time to time, but you’ll have to spend a few grand to grab one. Why did I choose this particular burger? Because in the summer of ’92 my family vacationed in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  We drove from Jersey to NC and along the way we stopped at numerous McDonalds restaurants not only to get a taste of the limited edition McJordan Special, but to collect the Dream Team collectors cups you would get with every meal order! We ended up collecting the whole set and I still drink from them every now and then and when I do it reminds me of the tangy, bacony goodness that was born in the early 90s to capitalize off the greatest basketball player of all-time, Mr. Michael Jeffrey Jordan!

– Spyda-Man

You can check out Spyda-Man’s retro home on the web at 20 Years Before 2000.  You can also follow him on twitter @20_Years_Before.


Slice

Since we’ve had several drinks resurrected in the past two years, I’m longing for another soda I remember from my childhood, Slice. Technically, Pepsi has only discontinued Slice in the past decade after a failed attempt in diet soda market. Of course, Sierra Mist and even Tropicana has taken over Slice flavors from PepsiCo over the years but we’ve never seen the full line of flavors I remember in the ’80s.

With successful comebacks of Ecto Cooler, New York Seltzer, Jolt Cola, Surge, and Crystal Pepsi over the last couple years, now is the time for a Slice revival. Give us some of the traditional flavors like Apple Slice, Mandarin Orange Slice, Pineapple Slice, Fruit Punch Slice. If you need to add more than 10% juice it had back in the day to satisfy the health nuts, that’s fine. But if we get the Slice back, please give me the commercials with fruit being launched into streams of water.

– Jason Gross

Jason is the creative force behind Rediscover the 80’s and is always posting some of the best retro content you’ll find anywhere on the web.  His twitter feed is a heavenly slice of the 80’s, so you should give him a follow there at @rd80s.  He and I collaborated last year to compile out list of our ten favorite episodes of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero.  Check out his five here, and then give my five favorites a look too!


Fruit Swirl Bars

While many of my favorite childhood flavors like the spicy crunch of Keebler’s Pizzarias have been lost to the ages, there is one combination of fruit flavor and texture that I miss above all others. Coming out of the fruit roll-up craze of the mid-80’s that gave us bizarre variations like Pudding Roll-Ups, Fruit Swirl Bars by Fruit Corners were a delicious anomaly that I’ll never forget. Imagine a lab experiment gone horribly wrong as a mad food scientist tried to combine the dimensions of a granola bar with the sticky sweetness of fruit roll-ups, then dropped a few yogurt covered Sunkist Fun Fruits Creme Supremes into the mix. The results were a deliciously gooey monstrosity that could barely hold it’s form, yet terrorized our tongues in the very best way with a burst of tangy fruit flavor that was mellowed out by the stripes of vanilla cream running throughout. For the short time they were available, these were my go-to pre-school lunch treat and I can’t believe there has never been an off-brand revival of the recipe available at questionable gas stations nationwide. I recently found a commercial for Fruit Swirl Bars on one of my old Saturday Morning VHS tapes so you can enjoy the celebration of this delicious snack in live action here

– Hoju Koolander

You can follow along with all of Hoju’s retro shenanigans on his twitter feed, @hojukoolander, read a lot of his his fine writing on a variety of retro topics at Retro-Daze, keep up with him at PopGeeks, and listen to his awesomely fun pod cast at SequelQuest Podcast where he and his cohorts craft sequels that we never got to movies that we loved!  Be sure to check out his latest piece over at Retro-Daze, Retro Magazine Round-Up: Black Belt! 


Russet Valley Potato Chips

Man I miss a lot of old foods.  Most of the foods I miss don’t really pertain to the taste as much and the nostalgic memories surrounding them.  I could name any number of items as my choice, but for today, I’m really missing the old Eagle Snacks Russet Valley Potato Chips.  Way back in 1979, Anheuser-Busch launched a line of salty snacks to go along with the beer called Eagle Snacks.  One of the snacks they rolled out with was Russet Valley Potato Chips.  They were a kettle cooked chip, and used russet potatoes instead of the more traditional new white potatoes for making their chips.  This gave the chips a distinctive dark color and an amazing taste.

I still remember the first time I ever tried them.  My brother brought home a large metal can adorned with the Anheuser-Busch logo, and inside were two bags of these glorious chips.  From the first one I out in my mouth, I was hooked.  We ate so many bags of those chips in the late 80’s that I started growing potato eyes all over my body.  Sadly, they went away in the early 90’s.  It was years before I found a substitute.  Now while not quite as good as the Russet Valley chips, Cape Cod brand makes a dark russet potato chip that is pretty dang swank.

– Retro Rambler

Of course you can follow along with me here on Retro Ramblings, but you can follow me on twitter @yesterdayville, and like my Facebook page.


Well that does it for our opinions on the matter.  But what about YOU?  What old food or snack do you miss?  Join in on the conversation by leaving your opinion in the comments section below.