Dinosaur Dracula!

Cranberry & Sage Triscuit Crackers!

Judging by what I’ve seen so far, the 2014 holiday season is going to be a great one for junk food lovers. Here’s some early proof!


I rarely buy Triscuits anymore, but it’s only because I can’t be trusted around them. Like Pepperidge Farm Goldfish, they were one of my childhood comfort foods, and like Pepperidge Farm Goldfish, I cannot have access to a package without devouring it within five minutes.

If I was ever going to make an exception, now was the time, because OH MY GOD, THESE ARE CRANBERRY. Cranberry & Sage, to be precise. Even if this limited edition flavor doesn’t immediately appeal to you, at least admit that they come in a freakin’ fantastic box. It looks like one of the ten dollar throw blankets I buy every December. Read More…

1989 Toys “R” Us Treat Box!

During the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, Toys “R” Us ran several promotions where kids received free treat boxes with every purchase. These were essentially paper lunch boxes, filled with product samples, coupons, and if we were lucky, a little toy.

They sound like simple freebies, and I guess they were, but words can’t express how much those boxes meant to me. The few times that I received them, I sure as hell liked them more than whatever I’d conned Mom into buying me.

For regular readers, this is old news, as I’ve written about these treat boxes twice before. In 1992, TRU issued one with a Batman Returns theme, filled with everything from Fruit Stripe gum to Sesame Street Band-Aids. Later that year, they unveiled a Jurassic Park treat box, appropriately covered with dinosaur games and puzzles.

Other times, TRU unveiled treat boxes even when they weren’t in partnership with any big movie studios:



This “R” Treat Box, from 1989, may have actually been the first in the series. Brother, it was PHENOMENAL. Covered with pictures of Geoffrey’s family, the many beach references suggest that it was a summer release.

Now, a free cardboard Geoffrey box was reason enough to demand a trip to the toy store, but it’s what was inside that made these so legendary. Read More…

Identifying Garfield’s Christmas Presents.


Yeah, I’m really doing this. It’s too late to stop me.

A Garfield Christmas is one of my favorite holiday specials. During its run on CBS, I watched it every year. To me, it was every bit as important as Charlie Brown’s thing, and for a time, I liked it even more.

The bulk of the special is set on the old Arbuckle farm, where Jon reconnects with his little-seen family. (Most notably Grandma Arbuckle, in a breakthrough performance!) It’s 22 minutes of pure holiday happiness, and it kills me that nobody airs it anymore. A Garfield Christmas just isn’t the same on DVD. I need commercial breaks with special messages from McDonald’s and Radio Shack.

Of course, pitching you the special isn’t why I’m here. Frankly, only those who are already fans have any shot of making it through this post. I mean it. This one is NOT going viral.

Now let’s get down to business. Remember Garfield’s dream sequence from the start of the special? The one with the ROBOT SANTA GIFT-GIVING MACHINE? Read More…

More Ancient Holiday Appetizers!

Every holiday season, I’m inspired to dig through my ancient recipe books, searching for meals and appetizers that haven’t been in fashion since before I was born. Why? I DON’T KNOW.


No matter how this odd passion took form, it’s been a part of my holiday celebrations for as long as I can remember. These recipe books, mainly of the Betty Crocker variety, were always in the kitchen cabinet when I was growing up. As an adult, they still squeak their way in, because I can’t remember the last yard sale I went to that didn’t have a dozen hardbound Better Homes & Gardens cookbooks laying on the grass. I always buy them. I’m adequately armed to build a fort out of those books.

The recipes inside are rarely seasonally specific, but I always associate them with this time of year. I’m never satisfied with a holiday meal unless it includes at least one dish that hasn’t been popular since 1973. Many of these recipes are weird by today’s standards; others have fallen out of favor as the world’s grown more nutritionally conscious. Still, back then, food looked like so much fun. Like something you’d make out of Play-Doh or LEGO bricks.

So, in continuation of something I’ve done before, below are four more holiday-appropriate appetizers, plucked from some of my oldest cookbooks. None of them are too strange, but that won’t stop you from telling me how you’d never eat them, in great detail. And that’s fine! Read More…