Hello! Below are twelve things that we used to buy from supermarkets. May they make you pine for things you can no longer eat, wear, style with, and/or swallow when you have a headache.
(ad from 1986)
Wise Cottage Fries were big, thick, ridged potato chips. These were a major favorite of my late father’s, to the point where I had to be really careful about eating them when he wasn’t around. Forgetful as he sometimes was, my father had absolute total recall over All Things Cottage Fries. If a bag was emptied by any hand but his, there would be hell to pay.
(I wasn’t always so successful in resisting. The chips were wonderful, after all, and somehow the word “cottage” made them taste twice as good. Also of note: I believe these are still available in some foreign markets!)
(ad from 1986)
Chun King was all over the place in the ‘80s, being that decade’s to-go brand for anyone who wanted takeout-style Chinese food without the actual taking-outing. I mostly remember their microwave egg rolls, which were always in our freezer, acting as my perpetual last resort for those sad times when we ran out of pretzels and Fruit Wrinkles.
(ad from 1986)
Ocean Spray’s Cranapple juice is still made today, but it ain’t the same without the glass bottle and that amazingly cool label. I can’t be the only one who was impossibly intrigued by that image of a whole apple trying to squeeze into a drinking glass over a bed of loose cranberries. (Of course, now that I’ve written such a literal description, I dunno, maybe I was.)
(ad from 1987)
Whenever Mom bought a new pair of L’eggs pantyhose, I always got the egg. For those who don’t recall, this brand of pantyhose — which was the cheapest of the cheap and sold virtually everywhere — arrived in neat plastic eggs.
They were just like the ones you might find in an Easter basket, but four times the size. I used them as mystical transports for my G.I. Joe figures, and in fact did this so often that I’d now have to count L’eggs eggs as one of my all time favorite action figure vehicles. Seriously.
(ad from 1988)
Sunkist Two-t-Fruits were odd but delicious ducks. They looked sort of like half-sized pretzel rods, but made from fruit snacks instead of bread. Inside each “rod” was a core made from another fruit snack, this time in a different flavor.
Basically, they were “pretzel rods meet Combos, but made entirely of fruit snacks.” Kind of a confusing sell, which may explain why they’re so scarcely remembered.
(ad from 1996)
I’ve already written a giant tribute to Cinn*A*Burst gum, so just consider this a reminder that I miss the shit out of it. Imagine pieces of less-spicy Big Red, imbued with countless cinnamon “flavor crystals.” The first few chews were always so crunchy and awesome. Like edible sandpaper.
I assume the brand collapsed under its own weight after that reckless expansion into Mint*A*Burst and Fruit*A*Burst territories. I don’t care about the other two, just give me the original back!
(ad from 1991)
Dep styling gel is still around in one form or another, but seeing it in its old school dispenser brings back so many memories. Mainly from junior high, when I was prone to use so much Dep that by the end of each school day, it hardened into a white, snowing mass that made me appear to have a mutant case of dandruff. This, as it turned out, was no way to make friends.
(ad from 1993)
Nabisco’s Harvest Crisps were essentially hexagonic Wheat Thins topped with hardened clusters of oats and grains. They tasted heavenly, but they never the kind of cracker that kids outright asked for. We kind of just ate them as they came.
For the record, the proper way to eat Harvest Crisps was by scraping them against your top teeth, in a crude attempt to turn those oat and grain clusters into separate “mini snacks.” I imagined them as the barnacles on a cracker boat. This, as it turned out, was no way to make friends.
(ad from 1992)
Good Humor’s Vampire Secret bars — celebrated on a long ago Purple Stuff Podcast — were ice pops that hid centers of blood-like cherry goo. While owing allegiance to no specific media property, I assume they were meant to capitalize on the quiet “vampire fad” of the early ‘90s. Though not a seasonal release, I still count them among the best Halloween foods ever.
(ad from 1988)
Hawaiian Punch juice boxes are still around, but there was something extra fetching about the boxes from the ‘80s. The “squarish” shape was unique for the time, and the boxes looked oddly sleek, trading the funky font and red-headed mascot for a design that seemed futuristic. They didn’t pop up often, but I remember thinking “jackpot” whenever they did.
(ad from 1990)
Berry Bears fruit snacks were sort of a sister brand for Shark Bites, arriving in like-styled boxes and with similar gimmicks.
Whereas Shark Bites used rarer “Great White” and “Tiger Shark” pieces to keep kids on their toes, Berry Bears had its own set of chasers. One specially marked box might’ve included a few “invisible” Berry Bears, while another — like the one shown above — came with goddamned magic horse pieces.
(ad from 1988)
I remember being fed Nuprin for everything from fevers to colds to headaches to boredom. From what I can tell, there was no dramatic finale to the Nuprin era. Its makers just stopped making it. While true that it was simply ibuprofen and had no special ingredient to separate it from so many other pain medications still on the market, I can’t help but miss those little yellow pills. Thanks, Wayne.
Twelve things that used to be in supermarkets. What a weird note to end 2015 on. Oh well, it works for Dino Drac. Enjoy your champagne.