Tag: Forgotten Food

Forgotten Food: Oatmeal Swirlers

Oatmeal Swirlers

I was very fortunate that my Mom didn’t work when I was growing up. My Dad made a good living and she was able to stay at home and raise us kids for the most part. At two different points, she took jobs and only worked for 6 weeks at each, so for 99% of my childhood, she was always home. This meant that every morning before school, she was up early and making home cooked breakfast for the family. Most days that consisted of eggs and toast, or biscuits and gravy, and sometimes her home cooked oatmeal.

On the rare occasion when she or one of us had something going on early, she would turn to something quick like frozen pancakes or waffles or cereal. My favorite of the quick breakfast options however was instant oatmeal. I loved Quaker Maple Brown Sugar Instant Oatmeal. It was a staple of my breakfast diet then, and it still is now. No other instant oatmeal could touch it in my eyes. That is until I first saw a commercial for General Mills’ Oatmeal Swirlers.

Oatmeal Swirlers

It was instant oatmeal that came with a squeeze pack of what I guess would be best described as jelly. You could squeeze out smiley faces, or words, or even play tic tac toe with the pack. It was awesome. When this stuff hit the market it took instant oatmeal to a whole new level.

While I don’t even faintly remember how it tasted, I do remember how much fun breakfast was on those mornings. I can remember almost being excited going to bed on those nights when I knew that Oatmeal Swirlers was going to be for breakfast the next day. Sadly, like so many other favorite foods of my youth, this one bit the dust far too early. For a long time after it vanished from the shelves, I missed it terribly. Time went on and other breakfast novelties came along to take its place, but it certainly left its mark on me as to this day I wish I could pick up another box of this stuff and share it with my kids.






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.

WWF Ice Cream Bars Ad

WWF Ice Cream Bars

I gotta admit, I never had the pleasure of trying one of the WWF Ice Cream Bars, but it’s not because of a lack of trying.  Back in the late 80’s, I never got to got to a live WWF event, which I assume is where you could get these things.  I also never saw them on the shelves at my local grocery stores, nor on the ice cream truck that patrolled the road I lived on.  It’s a shame too, because I was such a huge wrestling fan.

The advertising itself looks pretty solid, and I imagine this ad probably came from an issue of WWF Magazine, but I could be wrong.

So what about you?  Did you ever get to try these things?  Where did you get them?  What wrestlers do you remember being featured on them?  And if you’re into cool old ads, be sure to check our “Advertising Archive”.

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
Saturday Mornings Forever


Back When Pizza Hut Was an Experience

Pizza Hut

I miss the “glory days” of Pizza Hut.  That magical time in the 80’s and early 90’s when it was a destination, and not just somewhere to eat.  I’ve found recently that those days of yore are long gone, and what is left is what seems like a company struggling to hang on.

Last week, we took our daughters to Pizza Hut for lunch, and as I sat there with them enjoying lunch, I looked around the place and just shook my head at how much it has changed through the years.  To me, it no longer feels special.  It just feels like another fast food joint with nothing to make it stand out.

Watch the video version of this post on YouTube | Back When Pizza Hut Was Great

As you’ve learned by now, my Father traveled quite a bit when I was growing up, and to kind of take the sting out being gone so much, when he would get back in town on the weekends, he would always take the family out to eat on Friday or Saturday night.  This usually meant a trip to Western Steer, Bonanza, or Wendy’s back when they had the Superbar.  But a couple of times a year, we would be treated to my favorite place to go in that time frame, Pizza Hut.  We only got to go a few times a year because, for the time, Pizza Hut was expensive.  But that was part of the appeal.  It was a step above other places to eat back then.  You weren’t just paying for the food, you were buying an experience.

From the moment you walked in the place, you knew it was something special.  You knew this was going to be something you’d remember, and it all started with the decor.  The interior didn’t look like a fast food joint with it’s huge, sprawling windows, and cheap looking walls, or tiled floors.  When you walked in, you were greeted by brick walls, with smaller windows, that had thick red fabric curtains pulled back, and a carpeted floor.  It just felt higher-class that walking into McDonalds or Burger King.

Pizza Hut Interior

The booths were high-backed, with thick padded vinyl seats and back rests.  The high backs was also different from your usual eating out experience.  These high backs gave you a sense of privacy, which was great for a date night.  Also great for a date night were the candles on the tables.  Those little red glass candles that were on every table, and were lit when you got to your seat.  It was a little thing, but when added to everything else, it was quite the contribution.  Your silverware was wrapped in a thick, cloth napkin that beat the heck out of the paper napkins everyone else was using at the time.  And you could always count on the table being covered by a nice, red and white, checkered table cloth.

Forgotten Food  |  That Time When McDonald’s Tried to Sell Spaghetti

The lighting at Pizza Hut back then was lower that what you were used to at other places.  This was due to the lower wattage bulbs they used, along with their gorgeous, Pizza Hut log emblazoned, stained glass light shades they used to have.  Seeing one of those things now instantly takes me back to another place in time!  They still look classy and bring old memories flooding back every time I see or think of one.  The private feeling booth, the low lighting, the candle on the table, and the brick wall beside you gave a unique feel to the table you were dining at.  It greatly enhanced the overall experience.

Pizza Hut Lights

Continue reading “Back When Pizza Hut Was an Experience”

Visual History of McDonald’s Clam Shell Packaging

In 1990, McDonald’s gave into demands from the EPA and ceased using their clam shell polystyrene containers to package their food.  I for one have always missed those containers for a variety of reasons, and started feeling nostalgic for them.  Here’s a short and unofficial visual guide to a few of those containers, and a couple of others, for no other reason that I think they are cool to look at, and seeing them brings back a lot of old memories.

Also, check out my post, That Time When McDonald’s Tried to Sell McPasta


Big Breakfast

Big Breakfast Container


Big Mac Container

Big Mac Container

Continue reading “Visual History of McDonald’s Clam Shell Packaging”