Wow, has it really been nine months since the last installment of Six Snacks I Want Back? Time flies when you don’t feel like making giant GIFs, I guess.
Down below: Six more snacks from the ‘80s and ‘90s that I wouldn’t mind eating again. (Or, in two cases, for the first time. Watch enough internet strangers go bananas over old hot dogs, and eventually you’ll want them, too.)
Jolt Cola! (1980s)
I can’t remember the last time I saw the original Jolt Cola in stores. Rumors persist that it’s still available regionally, so if you have access to it, consider yourself blessed. I have such fond memories of sipping from those cans and bottles, and pretending that my cool-sounding novelty drink was as powerful as cocaine.
Jolt did boast twice the caffeine of most sodas, but kids ran with that ball to the point of farce, acting as if it caused uncontrollable fits of freneticism. Basically, we got to pull a Popeye without touching any spinach.
Chef Boyardee Tic Tac Toe’s! (1980s)
I can’t believe that Chef Boyardee doesn’t still make this. Tic Tac Toe’s (their punctuation, not mine) always seemed so popular and so simple and so conceptually perfect. I would’ve pegged it as one of their mainstays.
The ability to play tic-tac-toe with pasta was perpetually irresistible, no matter how many times you rediscovered the fact that tic-tac-toe was kind of a two-player game.
Weird thing: Though Chef Boyardee also made (and still makes) a canned pasta starring the whole alphabet, there was something uniquely delicious about bowls of just Xs and Os. It’s like ol’ Boyardee accidentally stumbled upon the single greatest possible mouthfeel. This stuff needs to come back.
Hormel Frank ‘N Stuff! (1980s)
Admittedly, I never had the chance to try these. I wrote about Frank ‘N Stuff’s spooky TV commercial back during the 2012 Halloween Countdown, and only then did I learn about their intense cult following.
(How intense? Well, even though this YouTube video isn’t searchable and was embedded on one of the site’s least-visited pages, it’s to date racked up over 20k views. Compare that to the videos that I’ve actually produced and pushed heavily, which were lucky to get one-fifth of the attention!)
Stuffing cheap chili inside mutant hot dogs sounds just crazy enough to work, but what really enthralls me is the subtle horror theme. The hot dog version of Dr. Frankenstein is the antihero we never knew we needed.
Garfield Fruit Snacks! (1990s)
I’ve written about Garfield Fruit Snacks five or six times already, which is as much a tribute to how good they were as it is evidence of me being one repetitive bastard.
Though they came in a “Fruit Roll” variety, the real money was in the traditional fruit snacks, which looked like tiny, bleeding Garfield figurines. Trust me, nothing in today’s fruit snack aisles comes even remotely close to how delicious these were.
The snacks had a damp, oily feel with a wine-like finish. This was not the sort of complexity one would’ve expected from something shaped like Garfield. (The fact that they came out when Garfield and Friends was the hottest shit on Saturday morning television didn’t hurt, either.)
Undercover Bears Oatmeal! (1990s)
Hidden within the mix were camouflaged eggs, which melted away to reveal a parade of red gummy bears. “Secret bears” was fetching gimmick, but beyond that, gummy bears over oatmeal just tasted awesome.
Bonus points: If your oatmeal was hot enough, the gummies would partially dissolve and turn the whole bowl in a spiraled mess of bear remains. We were Judge Doom and the bears were our cartoon shoes. It was great. Just think back to all of the times you said “ohhh nooo not meeeee” in a squeaky bear voice while eating this oatmeal.
Crunch Tators! (1990s)
I’m not sure if Crunch Tators were ever available where I live. I was first introduced to the snack by way of its cameo in Home Alone, and originally took it for a “prop food” that didn’t exist in the real world. Oh, how wrong I was!
Further research has only left me more remorseful. Crunch Tators sound amazing, and they still have quite a following. The extra-crunchy chips came in pretty “experimental” flavors by early ‘90s standards, including Mighty Mesquite and Hoppin’ Jalapeño.
The chips were fronted by a cartoon crocodile who alternated between stereotypical Texan and Mexican outfits, depending on which flavor he was promoting. The more I think about it, the surer I am that that C.T. Gator should’ve been my 1st and 2nd tattoos.