It’s time for another edition of Six Snacks I Want Back, celebrating foods that can no longer be eaten without the aid of time machines or slipshod DIY recipes posted by liars on social media.
If you missed the three previous installments, check ‘em out over here.
Oreo Big Stuf!
These were so good. Take normal Oreo cookies, but multiply their size by five. Then individually wrap them, as if to subtly suggest that they’re kingly. Seriously, do it. I’ll pay you.
What I remember most about Oreo Big Stuf cookies was how impossible they seemed, even in their time, and even when I was holding one with my own two hands. They felt more like comically oversized movie props, or maybe those plastic cookie-shaped containers which for some reason are meant to hold Cheerios.
They never felt real. Eating one was like a lucid dream. Nabisco said as much in the promotional materials.
Okay, no they didn’t.
Next we have Pizza-Crunchabungas, more commonly known simply as “Crunchabungas.” For all of the roof-raising we do over Hostess’s Ninja Turtles Pies, these were even better, and just as deserving of online petitions signed by a suspicious amount of fictional characters.
Ostensibly shaped like pizza pies, Crunchabungas more closely resembled Honeycomb cereal. To some degree, the consistency was Honeycombish, too.
Pleasantly airy but packing more crunch than any potato chip, you hardly needed to be a TMNT fan to appreciate these. The pizza flavoring was totally on point, and hey, if you were a TMNT fan, it was so much fun to imagine Donny and Mike arguing over the salt-t0-cheese dust ratio, while Splinter mouthed “FML” somewhere in the background.
Keebler Krunch Twists!
It’s my belief that Krunch Twists died not due to lack of interest, but government interference. “We just can’t have people eating these all day,” said Special Agent Fox to Ernie the Elf. Then came the squad of jerks with flamethrowers. All of it was horrible.
What were they? Individual snack sticks (their term) twisted into swirly behemoths (my term). Krunch Twists delivered on their name’s promise — the noises made when you chomped them felt like they came from a sound effects library. You were like Bugs with a carrot, only your carrot had lots of fat and tasted like nachos.
Krunch Twists were popular enough to merit four flavors, including Cheddar Cheese, Nacho Cheese, Toasted Corn, and the unbelievably ‘80s “Hearty Potato.” It’s hard to name a favorite when they were all so good, but given the suckable dust provided by the two cheesier flavors, it was probably one of those.
A controversial inclusion given its reputation, I admit to having written several mean things about Crystal Pepsi over the years. Even so, I completely bought the pitch back in 1993, and have such fond memories of performing blind taste tests with my friends, to see if we could differentiate Pepsi from Crystal Pepsi on taste alone.
(We could, but we pretended we couldn’t. We needed to BELIEVE.)
Honestly, I think most of Crystal Pepsi’s bad rep stems from its national introduction in that old Van Halen Super Bowl ad, which presented it not so much as a soda, but as a new and witnessable deity meant to make people wonder if they’d misplaced their faith.
Crystal Pepsi was attractive, and it had a fun-to-say name. It also made you feel like you were literally drinking the future. I still have around a dozen bottles of the stuff under my desk, which only seems like a non sequitur if this is your first time reading Dino Drac. If it is, I should warn you: I reference Congo a lot.
I’m surprised that more people haven’t continued to sing the praises of Betty Crocker’s String Thing, a ‘90 fruit snack that mixed everything we loved about Fruit Gushers with everything we loved about peeling dead skin off our arms.
Temporarily “glued” to little paper mats, the snacks initially resembled dysfunctional mazes. Once you peeled them, they looked like haggard ropes. The consistency was key, because they were solid enough to chew, but still soft enough to do whatever weird tongue things you’d grown accustomed to doing after a lifetime spent eating Fruit Roll-Ups.
String Thing was Betty Crocker’s answer to the famous question, “What if someone took everything good about every fruit snack and made it into one single fruit snack?”
I will concede that the question’s fame is debatable.
But damn, these were delicious. It was like eating cherry-flavored spiderwebs. Which I bet is the title of an old Garbage song.
Nope, not kidding, I loved these. In fact, I loved them so much that back in 2011, many years after they’d been discontinued, I made a pitiful attempt to recreate the McSalad Shaker from home. My devotion is total.
On the surface, McDonald’s McSalad Shakers only seem to have been a clever repackaging of their everyday salads. This actually wasn’t the case. Everything inside was chopped more finely, so while the total mass was arguably less than that of a regular McD’s salad, the McSalad Shakers felt bottomless. My argument makes more sense if you eat salad one piece at a time, like a rabbit.
The lidded cups allowed you to thoroughly dress them through vigorous shaking, hence the name. I don’t know why eating salad from a Slurpee cup was so much fun; I can only confirm that it was. There was something oddly elegant about it, and when you can apply the word “elegant” to a McDonald’s salad served in a plastic glass, I think you’re onto something big.
Thank you for reading about more old food. We’ll do this again, sometime!
PS: If you missed it yesterday, Dino Drac’s April Funpacks are now available! This month, they feature everything from a Street Sharks candy dispenser to a Mac Tonight figurine to a cute little box French Toast Crunch cereal!
If you wanna help Dino Drac keep doing its thing and get a cool box of nonsense in the process, here are all of the details. Thanks again to all subscribers, old and new!