Today is Dino Drac’s 5th birthday. I wrote a bit about that on the site’s Facebook page, but here’s the tl;dr version: Thanks for reading!
Below: Six mostly-forgotten junk foods from the ‘80s and ‘90s, as seen in old supermarket circulars. It’s exactly this sort of provocative content that’s kept my name in the news since 2012.
Crystal from Pepsi! (1994)
Soon after Crystal Pepsi’s original run ended, Pepsi defiantly launched Crystal, a similar yet distinct beverage that went heavier on the citrus and lighter on the Sammy Hagar.
I love the idea of some high-up Pepsi exec placing his hand on a vat of clear cola and softly promising to never give up on it. I wonder if anyone else ships hypothetical businessmen and vats of discontinued soda?
Crystal, be it in soft drink or recurring Roseanne character form, did not last long enough.
Sunshine Chip-A-Roos (1980s)
These were like the cruder versions of Chips Ahoy cookies. I never had them at home, but they were a favorite at my childhood best friend’s house.
(His mother was a thrifty shopper who would always sort of get you what you wanted, but never go all-in. Instead of Chips Ahoy, Kool-Aid and Cocoa Puffs, they had Chip-A-Roos, Crystal Light and Wizard Monkey’s Choco Crunch.)
Betty Crocker Gelooze (1994)
I’ve been asked about Betty Crocker’s Gelooze at least ten times in the past year alone, usually by people who couldn’t remember the name. (Don’t ask me how anyone could forget a name like “Gelooze.”)
Gelooze was only slightly more liquid than that shit we used to pour over Oatmeal Swirlers. Once heralded as “the summer sausage of beverages,” you didn’t so much “drink” Gelooze as “eat” it. The process was weird and messy, and it kinda made you feel like a punk rock infant.
Keebler Ripplin’s (1989)
Ripplin’s were extra-crispy potato chips that felt like the mega evolution of Pringles. Thick, hard and greasy, any attempt to describe them makes you sound like you’re soliciting on Craigslist.
Between these, Tato Skins, Pizzarias and O’Boises, Keebler’s old school chip run was downright phenomenal. I’ll never understand why those elves stopped doing salty stuff, because my God, they were so good at it.
Hormel Frank ‘n Stuff (1980s)
These long-discontinued monsters still have quite a following, and brother, they are a loud bunch. (Look up “Frank ‘N Stuff” sometime. Fans routinely make desperate demands for a comeback, irrespective of whether they’re on Hormel’s Facebook page or a Neopets message board. I wish I loved anything that much.)
The hot dogs were stuffed with Hormel chili, or in a more dramatic spinoff, Hormel chili AND CHEESE. The latter version was what you bought when life fucked you twice in the same day.
I’ve read that Hormel pulled the plug after numerous “burn” complaints, but given that Frank ‘N Stuff debuted in 1984 and lasted for a full decade, that theory seems suspect. I think the hot dogs just ran their course, as meat-stuffed meats are wont to do.
Looney Tunes Frozen Dinners (1990)
There were more than a dozen Looney Tunes frozen meals available, each fronted by a different character. These were like the “zoo cafeteria” versions of Kid Cuisine meals, edible if not exactly palatable.
Perhaps the most striking option was Wile E. Coyote’s “hamburger pizza,” which looked like a deflated football topped by a dead guy.
The best thing about the meals was their shared box design, which was super bright and super blue, and always left me wanting to paint my room.
Thank you for reading about old groceries. And also for reading about every other stupid thing I’ve covered over these past five years. You’re delicious. Stick around.