I had so much fun writing Volume 1, I thought I’d dive right back in. Here are another six snacks that I want back, from chocolate-stuffed cookies to fries in juice boxes:
Chee-tos Paws (they didn’t drop the hyphen until later) was perhaps the snack of the early ‘9os. Meant to represent Chester Cheetah’s paws, something about their shape allowed for the kind of cheese dust attraction seen in no other Chee-to before or since. In effect, they were the cheesiest of all Chee-tos.
But that was only part of it. Paw shaped Chee-tos were just fun to eat. My favorite way was to chomp the individual fingers first, saving the hideously mutilated cheetah hands as a sort of main course. Alternatively, I’d start by sucking all of the cheese dust off, and eat the paws only after they were entirely robbed of flavor. I might delete that confession when I proofread this.
Much of our affinity had to do with the marketing, too. Chee-tos Paws were pitched as being extraordinarily hip and not-at-all for adults, packed in blazingly lime green bags that only a minor could feel comfortable eating from. After all, this was the era of anti-adult kiddy advertising, where every new snack came with a disclaimer that you had to be 11 or under to truly understand it.
Even so, people of all ages loved Chee-tos Paws, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Frito-Lay gave ‘em another try someday.
Burger King Burger Bundles!
Burger King has tried to make “mini burgers” a thing many times, I think most recently with BK Shots. Before that, there were Burger Buddies, which were half-sized cheeseburgers oddly conjoined by untorn rolls.
Perhaps best of all were Burger Bundles from 1987 — those being adorably wrapped three-packs of slider-sized burgers. They tasted like breadier Burger King cheeseburgers, but the appeal was in the presentation.
Ad materials have long treated burgers more as ornaments than edibles, and those shown in the Burger Bundles TV commercial had more the flavor of pet rocks than lunch. When you bought them, you almost forgot that you were supposed to eat them. You didn’t remember until after naming two-thirds of the trio. Did you really have it in your heart to eat Gloria and Breadathan?
Keebler Magic Middles!
You’ve probably seen a petition or two to bring these back. Keebler’s Magic Middles looked like ordinary cookies, but they so weren’t. Injected with mouthfuls of gooey chocolate with a consistency only a bit harder than cake frosting, every bite of a Magic Middles cookie tickled your throat and made you swear off all other food.
The way the internal goo altered its appeal based on external temperatures should’ve been studied by NASA. If you ate it in a cold room, the inner chocolate was somehow colder than the cookie, and vice versa if the room was hot. That trait was a little too esoteric to mention in the TV commercials, but everyone who ate Magic Middles knew that it was a big part of the draw.
Striped Chips Ahoy!
Of all the discontinued varieties of Chips Ahoy cookies, this was by far my favorite. Here, normal Chips Ahoy cookies were coated with melted chocolate on the undersides, and striped with it on top. The result was the delicious image of a cookie in prison. Only we could free it.
Nabisco never mentioned this, but the proper way to eat Striped Chips Ahoy was section by section — “sections” being marked by each new stripe, of course. After you became an expert at that, you could try eating all of the chocolate off without damaging the cookie. Unfortunately, rumors of that being possible were just that — rumors.
Also: I was very fond of the white bags, appearing nearly futuristic in their sterility.
From the mid ‘80s, I’m honestly not sure if I’ve ever tried Apple Slice. I tend to doubt it, because it takes a certain level of maturity to appreciate apple soda.
In my old age, the concept sounds positively fancy, to the point where I could see apple soda being the sole beverage of a five star cruise’s brunch buffet.
What really draws me in are the gold cans. They just looked so expensive. This was the one soda can that nobody ever turned into a secret coin bank, because it would’ve been too obvious.
Of course, it helps that the soda was under the Slice umbrella. If you’re only familiar with the Walmart-exclusive version of today — if even that’s still around — Slice used to be a much bigger brand. The chief flavor was lemon-lime, and to me it always seemed like the younger and more bohemian version of 7UP. It was the wacky soda underdog. Drinking it was rooting for it.
Micro Magic French Fries!
Oh, sweet Jesus. Micro Magic Fries. For a time, I absolutely lived on these.
The late ‘80s Micro Magic line included other nukeable foods — burgers and shakes and so forth — but most of its fame came from the fries. The unspoken idea was that you could make fast food style fries at home.
The packages looked like extra wide juice boxes, and no matter how closely you followed the directions, the fries never came out as advertised. Sometimes they’d be salty, soggy messes. Other times they’d be so utterly dried out that they seemed more like astronaut food.
But that ended up being a positive. Micro Magic fries were fries like no other. Every facet, from the weird papery smell to the powdery potato taste, belonged to them and them alone.
Once you moved past the idea of trying to make them “good,” you’d just rip the boxes open and quickly microwave them. Just a minute or two later, and you were in your bedroom, eating fries you made yourself. To a kid, that was the best possible version of a chemistry set.
Will some of your childhood favorites make the list? Find out in Volume 3, coming up whenever I feel like writing about more old food.