Chef Boyardee’s Mini Dinosaurs!

It’s been a rough month. I needed something simple and pleasant to ease my way back into the wonderful world of low-level blogging. I think pasta shaped like dinosaurs is just the ticket.

Me and Chef Boyardee don’t cross paths often nowadays. It only happens during those rare times when I’m forced to go food shopping at shady convenience stores. The kind with lax attitudes about expiration dates, and magazine racks with a whole lotta lady nipples in plain sight.

But even when I go to normal supermarkets, I still love to look at the Chef Boyardee stuff. It makes me happy. Those cans are fun and colorful, and I’m always impressed with what they’re able to shape pasta like.

Last night, I found this. I doubt it’s new, but I’d never noticed it before. Chef Boyardee’s Mini Dinosaurs with Meatballs. I was immediately enamored, in part because it’s dinosaur macaroni, but also because they managed to make those meatballs out of pork, chicken and beef. Impressive in one way; overkill in another, perhaps more literal way.

Aside from making me feel like an eight-year-old, this also makes me wish I had the flu. Hell, I’ve been dodging it for two months now, and I’m definitely owed one.

Sane people can’t stand the flu, but I relish it. It’s nature’s permission to be a whiny, useless slug who cares for nothing except immediate gratification. That sounds like the perfect time to be the thirty-something who cries for Chef Boyardee without giving two fucks about how it sounds. Somebody cough on me.

The can delivers as promised. It’s a bowl of tiny, edible dinosaurs. The neat thing is that all of the pasta dinos that fell apart just look like random dinosaur bones. From an artistic point of view, nothing in that bowl missteps.

I know it’s hard to identify the specific dinosaurs when they’re swimming in a pool of blood, so I constructed this absurd guide, just for you:

The tyrannosaur is my favorite. If you turn its pasta shape sideways, it looks like a defensive crab.

The quickest way to my heart is to be a dinosaur and a crab at the same time. I’ll serenade you with Barry White’s My First, My Last, My Everything, right on the spot. Then you’ll kill and eat me, because you’re a dino-crab.

I didn’t want the meatballs to just be meatballs. There should be a cohesive canon to this. Let’s think of them as the comet that killed all of the dinosaurs, even if I’ve never really bought that particular extinction theory.

Maybe “fossilized dung” would’ve been a better way to identify them, but I don’t want to eat that.

51 Responses to Chef Boyardee’s Mini Dinosaurs!

  1. I’ve been down with boyardee (yeah you know me!) my entire life. I’m now in my mid 30s and I still eat it on a fairly regular basis.

  2. Same as with Crizag, until recently I too ate it regularly (And I’m in my 40′s!). Sadly, a heat attack and pacemaker installation put the Chef’s good foods strictly into the no-no list. :(

  3. Yikes, sorry to hear that! :( Let us agree that it is to be savored more like a painting and less like a pudding.

  4. My Wife says she remembers these, so they must have been around for a while!

  5. I quietly hope my daughter gets fussy about her food, and then swoop in to finish the bowl.

  6. I don’t think I’ve ever savored the Chef’s food before but he was (as stated on the can) able to make both pasta and meatballs out of pork, chicken and beef? Color me impressed. ;)

  7. It’s weird that there isn’t a Triceratops shape too. Everyone loves Triceratops.

  8. There might be one. I got tired of digging my hand through cold saucy pasta.

  9. always good with a piece of bread to get up that sugar sauce.

  10. Open the door,
    get on the floor
    Everybody eat some dinosaurs!

  11. I now need to hear Matt’s theory of how the dinosaurs became extinct.

    It’s funny how Chef Boyardee seems like a great idea until the second bite. I don’t like growing up to hate Chef Boyardee and somehow love spinach. Such a weird reverse over time.

  12. Neat! When called for, I’ve always preferred the Chef Boyardee pasta taste to the Libbys and Heinz ones (Heinz seems too sweet, and I think pasta should be savoury), but I didn’t realize the Chef ever made fun shapes. Or maybe it’s just a classic case of something not available in Canada.

  13. I always preferred Chef Boyardee to Spaghettios. The Chef’s sauce just taste more like regular tomoato sauce vs. the sugary tomato kind in Spaghettios. Plus, more non-kid varieties.

    I saw a new type of Oreo at Walgreens today. “Neopolitan Oreos” Basically the vanilla Oreos with Strawberry and Chocolate icing stacked between three vanilla oreos.

  14. This reminds me of the X-E article about that rancid can of Pacman pasta. I would really enjoy a feature article about unusual/discontinued Chef Boyardee varieties, and Matt is the only blogger that could handle such a topic with the tact it deserves.

  15. This confirms a theory I’ve been working on for a number of years that the dinosaurs were wiped out by a giant meatball. The scientific community will have to listen to me now.

  16. I have been a connisseur of canned pasta ever since my first bowl of Pac Man pasta back in the 80′s. Chef Boyardee is the man.

    Over the years, I’ve chomped many fun shapes and sizes. None have, before or since, compared tot he glory that was Garfield pasta in pizza flavored sauce. It had a little extra zest to it that, while cannot be genuinely likened to pizza, was very complimentary to a palate that was rapidly growing in sophistication. This king of canned crap easily extended my love affair with the medium until it vanished from store shelves.

    It is my Ecto Cooler. … Well, Ecto Cooler is MY Ecto Cooler, but you know what I mean.

  17. I’m gonna start calling meatballs “death comets”.

    I haven’t touched canned pasta in probably 15 years. It is something to be appreciated from afar. Very afar.

  18. Yuck. I did eat Chef Boyardee as a kid, but I wouldn’t touch it now. I’d rather make real pasta shapes from a box with my own sauce. That said, I work at a grocery store and sell cans of this stuff on a regular basis, though I’ve never really paid attention to the shapes unless they’re popular characters. Maybe I should now. My nephews would love this.

  19. Rev’s Internet browser has become sentient and dependent on her and is trying to save her by guiding her away from Chef Boyardee and his “food.”

  20. Blegh, pasta in a can is good perhaps for photographs and articles on a blog but in terms of food for humans, not so much.

  21. I’ll say it right now. I effin’ love The Chef’s cheese ravioli. I don’t care if it’s made out of lard, spotted owl, and retread off the side of the highway. When work takes me to less desirable locales, it’s a comfort food I enjoy eating straight from the can. Matter of fact, Boyardee is a go-to for me on cross country flights. It’s just easier to eat than most other things in the back of a helicopter.

  22. Having just gotten over the flu, I will say those were 3 days of pure hell. One good thing that came out of it though was that I was out of work for 4 days and that gave me plenty of time to watch almost the entire series of Transformers: Beast Wars, which I’d never seen. I’m currently on the tail end of the last season. I should have it all wrapped up by tomorrow afternoon (my day off).

    I’m still a fan of the Chef’s Ravioli. Been eating that for years. It’s good in a pinch when funds are low and I’m just looking for a quick lunch. Not a damn healthy thing about it unless you count the meat as protein. No fun shapes either, unless you just like bloody squares. But that sauce hasn’t changed one bit in 30 years.

  23. My reaction to this post was ridiculous.

    Look at can, get excited. Begin reading following words.

    3 seconds in, “Wait, was that a stegosaurus?!” Scroll up to view can again. Yes! Go back to reading.

    Instantly, “Woah, that T-Rex was fucking sweet!” Scroll up to view can again, go back to reading.

    Yet again, “HOLY SHIT they did a pterodactyl?!?!”, extended can viewing.

    I like dinosaurs.

  24. I also like shaped pasta. A lot.

  25. its so fucked up we are all going to die.

    do you think there are teenage mutant ninja turtles cartoons in the afterlife?

  26. Still loving the one-offs, but i miss the three page articles about transformer toys.

    Get that working life under control so you can get back to writing about the good stuff! :)

  27. @Cyanyde: There were a few longer ones posted recently, check the Features section. :) As for Transformers, though I fell off that wagon, I have something on deck that I’ve been waiting to write about forever. Just need to buy a few more things for it.

  28. I agree with DJ D regarding the low fund/quick lunch reasoning for eating the Chef’s pasta. With that being said, I don’t want to think about lady nipples when I’m eating mini dinosaurs and meatballs.

  29. I would like to go on record as saying that I frequently think about lady nipples when eating dinosaurs and meatballs. Actually, I just frequently think about lady nipples.

  30. I used to eat these when I was a kid. I guess I knew they still made them, but I didn’t *realize* it, if that makes any sense. I mean, my eyes always just kinda scanned over them at the store.

    Now I want some.

  31. I loved at the end of the original Dinosaurs pasta commercial, the guy in the song would go up an Octave and pronounce dinosaurs, like DIE UH NA SOREZ!

  32. I still painfully long for Pac-Man pasta. Every. Single.Time.

    Not even my wife knows that I look for it, illogically, every time we are at the store. Sigh.

  33. Wow, a can of up-to-date pasta? Movin’ on up! Do you still have the Pac-Man pasta in chicken sauce? Yum!

    I still enjoy the Chef, it is a feel-good food for me. Some spaghetti and giant meatballs, bread and butter, I’m good to go.

    On another note, I wasted a good hour-plus on ebay looking at soda cans. Shit, I could have spent megabucks! Not much for Crystal Pepsi, but there WAS a can of Crystal BY Pepsi!

  34. Oh man, used to LOVE Chef Boyardee ravioli! Seriously, I went through a phase where my Mom would stockpile it because it was the only thing I would eat. Granted, it didn’t have the cool factor of dinos and comets but I thought it tasted pretty good.

    Since you mentioned the one dino looking like a crab I think Ptero looks a little like an alien from Intellivision’s Space Armada (Space Invaders sucked!) with a new antenna.

    @kidneyboy, I also check out ebay after reading DD articles. I wonder how much ebay traffic these articles actually generate? I just purchased an unopened Nerfman because of an article I read from another site. I’m easily affected :)

  35. This article gave me a limitless amount of happies. When I hit the grocery store after work tomorrow, I will buy something similar, not for my 17-month-old daughter, but for me. I hope I get the flu, too.

  36. I wanted to say, I also saw two cans of original formula Pitch Black!! Can’t remember how much they were asking, but it was cool to see!

  37. I stopped eating canned pastas after I threw up an entire can’s worth of Where’s Waldo’s (similar to Spagettios) when I was a kid. That, and I’m just not into slimy pasta sauces.

  38. Matt, speaking of crabs, what ever happenes to the Mooncrab you have?

  39. @Everyone

    On the topic of food but digressing from the Chef, I’m trying to track down images of a specific McDonald Happy Meal. Back in the early Eighties McD’s put out a Happy Meal where the container was the toy. They were flying saucers that according to th commercial really flew. You were suppose to apply the stickers that came with the meal and when you were done with the food component you could toss the spaceship around like a frisbee.

    If anyone remembers these and knows of a site where I could find them I’d really appreciate it.

  40. Sooo…no SNT tonight then?

    Wow, this joint is a ghost town.

  41. Dinosaur macaroni reviews just don’t have legs!

    Clearing up some RL stuff this weekend/Monday, then back in the swing.

  42. Hey now, I am here reading so it can’t be all that bad, it has legs, just small ones.

  43. Do SNT’s still take place unofficially? They don’t seem to be promoted anymore.

  44. Poor old SNT. Hasn’t been the same in years. I always saw XE then DD as my refuge, but even time to get over here still seems stolen from somewhere else.

  45. I think SNT has become much less formal. Now, every once in a while a good group shows up and we get a good one. I vote we try to persuade Matt to do an old fashioned XE/DD movie night. Those were always a blast!

  46. I had to go listen to that Barry White song immediately after reading that paragraph!

  47. I hope you mean Apatosaurus rather than Brontosaurus. God I need a life…

  48. @ King Adrock

    Yes, there will friend. And every episode is new, there’s never a rerun.

  49. I LOVE Chef Boyardee Dinosaurs. I have been eating them since there were only THREE shapes. It also had the requisite accompanying commercial that makes eating a bowl of Chef into a game – “Get all three on your spoon, and you win!” along with this boppy song – “It’s a dinosaur hunt with Chef Boyardeeeee, Dinosaurs! (and new Dinosaurs with meatballs!” I am so engrossed by these small prehistoric pastas that I abused my press privilege and wrote a column in the paper where I work all about Chef Boyardee shaped pastas of the 80s and 90s. I was hoping it would make its way to ConAgra and earn me a tour of the factory. No dice yet.–A-classic-story-of-girl-meets-Boyardee.html

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