Continuing the series, here are yet another six snacks that I want back.
You’ll notice in this edition that I’m really stretching the definition of “snack.” Please do not continue reading if you’re unable to accept two pound pitas and alcoholic beverages as “snacks.”
Resembling Oreos but with a flavor closer to E.L. Fudge, Nabisco’s Giggles were absolutely blessed. Available during the last half of the ‘80s, this was one of the defining snacks of my childhood.
With two cookies hiding a layer of double-flavored, double-colored cream, the top of each Giggle was made to look like a smiling face. I cannot overstate the entertainment value of cream-filled smiling cookies to six-year-olds of the ‘80s. Holy shit.
Nearly as unforgettable as the cookies are its old TV commercials, which usually featured small children submitting to uncontrollable fits of laughter in response to their preferred snack. It was as if the Joker passed on Axis Chemicals in favor of Nabisco HQ.
Peanut Butter Boppers!
God, this was junk food on steroids. You know that old trope where a person or animal gets caught in radioactive fire and suddenly morphs into an uber version of itself? This was that with food.
The baton-shaped treats consisted of an extraordinarily sugary peanut butter filling, hidden within a “shell” of chocolate chips and some kind of crispy rice stuff. It was like eating a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup squashed onto a chocolate rice cake. SO GOOD.
What I liked most about Peanut Butter Boppers was the weird sense of serenity they brought. When you opened your lunch box and saw one of these, all was well and the world smelled sweeter. They were rave drugs for the elementary school set.
Fun Fruits Creme Supremes!
In terms of pure flavor, I much preferred regular Fun Fruits to the “Creme Supremes” versions, which were trapped in hard yogurt shells. Still, something about these lesser-known spin-offs has stuck with me for close to thirty years.
I guess my affinity can be attributed to two things. One, Creme Supremes looked like little alien gemstones, and were far more useful in pretend play than snacking. And two? Well, two needs a new paragraph.
Some of you may remember Fun Fruits’ mascots — a ragtag bunch of anthropomorphic trees who dropped fruit snacks from their branches. They were some of the most oft-seen kiddy characters of the ‘80s, appearing during countless commercial breaks.
But for Fun Fruit Creme Supremes, Sunkist needed to up the ante. That snack’s mascot was from the same tree family, but this time, it was a super cool yogurt-covered ALBINO tree. I loved that tree to death!
So yeah, I’m including Fun Fruits Creme Supremes because they looked like space rocks and were fronted by a big ass white tree. Screw you, it’s my list.
Keebler Tato Skins!
I’ve already been asked by several readers if I planned to include Tato Skins in this series, and the answer is OF COURSE I planned to include Tato Skins in this series. Were you joking?
Made by Keebler, Tato Skins were essentially potato chips, but way thicker. Two-toned, they had darker undersides to indicate “potato peel,” and delivered an almost pretzel-level crunch. I can’t recall if the cutesy TV commercials had any effect on my fanship, but I do know that it wasn’t necessary: Tato Skins were just flat out delicious.
It’s one of the few junk foods I’ve ever truly mourned over. First, they disappeared from supermarkets, continuing to exist only in the barest sense via scattered vending machines. Eventually, even the smaller bags vanished. I was crushed.
The brand was eventually sold to Poore Brothers, and their versions are still in production — though I never see them around here. So yeah, they’re already technically back, but I’ll need crazy serious evidence to believe that Poore’s is as good as the Keebler originals. Without the loving touch of elves, how could they be?
Wendy’s Stuffed Pitas!
I grant you that this isn’t a very exciting inclusion, but boy, these were good. Arriving in the late ‘90s and lasting at least through the early 2000s — when I last remember eating one — Wendy’s Stuffed Pitas were SALAD SANDWICHES.
Take a Wendy’s salad with grilled chicken, but dice up everything extra finely. Throw all of that into a lukewarm pita. Now drench it in the kind of dressing that would double nicely as dip for Fritos. That was a Wendy’s Stuffed Pita.
I normally hate anything resembling ranch dressing, but this was a rare exception. The neat thing was how you felt like you were eating healthier, despite the opposite being true.
Since the pitas tended to literally explode when freed from their wrappers, it was better to eat them in the foil. You’d just kind of slide up the food after each bite, as if the pitas worked on the same principle as a Flintstones Push-Up. It was awesome and messy.
Some of you may question Zima’s appearance on this list, but I have a lot of memories tied up in this stuff. Memories of being underaged, and of being coarsely encouraged by the older neighborhood kids to stop being an asshole and drink.
So began my brief love affair with Zima, exclusively purchased from the one corner store that never carded anyone, no matter how young they looked. I’d hide my 40-ouncer in a paper bag and huddle behind the bushes with the other kids, who I should note were definitely not drinking Zima. (Only now do I see the perverse humor in trying to impress thuggy hooligans by drinking goddamned Zima.)
The way I remember it, Zima tasted like a weak gin and tonic with loads of lime. Since regular beer’s flavor was at that point anathema to me, Zima was a godsend. Remember, this was before we had seventy thousand versions of Mike’s Hard Lemonade.
Zima’s reputation has only seemed to worsen over the years. I’ve since read that it failed because men found it “too girly” to drink, which sounds ridiculous until I remember how I was treated for being the only guy who did. Well dudes, you missed out. This shit was tasty, and it acted as the spiritual successor of Crystal Pepsi.
The Six Snacks I Want Back series will continue, but not tomorrow and probably not the next day. I have other things planned, but more old food will be celebrated in due time. Oh, yes. Stay hungry for things you can no longer have.