By Dane Feldman
Additional Contributors: Samantha Spoto, Molly Freeman, Ashley Rodriguez, Nakie Uzeiri, Michele Bacigalupo, Aubrey Sanders
Today marks the first day of Throwback Week here at BTR and we thought it best to kick it off with a celebration of our favorite discontinued food products. Aside from a few pleas to bring them back, we’re also talking about our own personal experiences.
Photo courtesy of Callie.
My alter ego found a home in the cafeteria of my elementary school. I perfected my menacing glare at the long, wooden tables littered with food trays and brown bags. I strategically watched as my classmates unloaded their snacks from their lunch boxes, making sure to be the first to initiate a trade if an especially tasty treat made its way onto the table.
Sure, I played with my Fruit by the Foot like a yo-yo. And I waited for the Gushers to turn my head into an oversized watermelon. It was all fun and games at lunch until somebody brought out the Dunkaroos. Then, it was strictly business. I somehow always managed to find someone willing to swap their hot air balloon-shaped cookies and rainbow sprinkled frosting for my chewy fruit snacks. Suckers.
I am holding a life-long grudge against the person who decided to scale back Dunkaroos production so drastically. I can’t imagine there is a snack quite as scrumptious making its way onto the cafeteria tables now. There is a dim light at the end of this tragedy, though. You can still by large packs of Dunkaroos on Amazon. Someone hold me back, I just might…
The revamped version of 3D Doritos. Photo courtesy of theimpulsivebuy.
As far as snacks go, I’m definitely a chip person (that is, of course, if we’re talking bad-for-you snacks; I was also a carrots-and-ranch person). Now, at 25, I prefer the blander side of the chip spectrum–regular Cape Cod chips are my go-to–but in my younger, wilder days I was a huge fan of Doritos. Not just any Doritos, though, 3D Doritos.
These chips weren’t flat and boring like regular chips, they were three-dimensional with a pocket of air in the middle and perfect for munching. Launched in the mid-2000s, this snack only stayed on the shelves for a few years before it was pulled prematurely. However, though it may be gone, it is not forgotten.
Technically, Frito-Lay has revived 3D Doritos, but they aren’t even close to the same chip I originally fell in love with.
For as long as I can remember, the Keebler Elves have been getting into mischief and using their wits to craft some of the tastiest treats while they’re at it. Images of stealth, ninja-like elves sneaking out in the darkest hours of the night to gather secret ingredients for snacks filled my mind as a child. It wasn’t until I had tasted the Keebler Fudge Shoppe Magic Middles that I knew those elves were truly magical.
Magic Middles were a decadent change from the run-of-the-mill cookie with chocolate chips or M&M’s scattered on top. These were different. They were the perfect mix of light, crumbly shortbread, and smooth, creamy chocolate inside. How the chocolate got inside was the big mystery. I liked breaking the cookie in half and watching the chocolate separate from the other side as I slowly pulled the halves apart, leaving a trail of gooey goodness stretched across.
I’m sure the secret to Magic Middles is still locked inside the Keebler tree house. Though nothing will ever compare–until someone manages to get in there and unlock the Keebler Code–this substitute recipe will have to do.
Waiting in the checkout line at the grocery store is a nightmare for every child–unless you were like me and annoyed your parents until they bought you some kind of candy. My supermarket silver lining was one of the greats, The Wonder Ball.
These discontinued chocolate spheres of joy contained small toys in them at first, but later were filled with candy instead, which is how I remember them best.
Being a huge Winnie the Pooh fan, I was always happy to find a ball that would be filled with Pooh, Piglet, and Tigger, but let’s not forget the rest of the Wonder Ball squad. Woody, Buzz, the princesses, and, of course, Mickey Mouse could also be found after you had eaten your way into the center. Discovering which Disney characters you received in their little Sweet Tart-like form was definitely a marvelous sight.
Sadly, Nestle has made these unavailable to us since they’re considered choking hazards, so it’s kind of difficult to get your hands on the real deal. An alternative is available to buy, but the Wonder Ball is a hard one to beat.
When I was a kid, I was preoccupied with the notion that I had to appear cool at all times. Most of my childhood antics were undertaken for the sake of pure shock value. When Heinz EZ Squirt ketchup was introduced to the market, I recall being mesmerized by a TV commercial with vivid, dancing ketchup containers. The consequence was instantaneous. It seemed that right away, my family picked up a year’s supply at the grocery store.
There was a large stretch of time where I dunked chicken nuggets and French fries into purple ketchup exclusively. Traditional red ketchup wasn’t bold enough for me anymore. The green shade of Heinz EZ Squirt also didn’t appeal to me. Rightfully so, I thought the variety appeared too unnatural to consume. My brother, a child of few demands, happily used the green bottle so the rest of us wouldn’t have to.
The year of purple ketchup tied into my elementary education, when getting “slimed” on Nickelodeon was all the rage. Luckily, my siblings and I eventually settled on the unanimous conclusion that the funky colors lacked the quality of the original Heinz recipe. When the purple and green EZ Squirt bottles ran dry, we returned to our roots—plain and true red.
The ‘90s provided me with no shortage of important questions to ask myself as a kid: is it bubble gum, or is it tape? I don’t know, am I afraid of the dark? What happens if I put my brother’s Creepy Crawler in my EasyBake Oven?
And then one day, as I watched Legends of the Hidden Temple and contemplated the complexities of my young existence, my mom set a box on the kitchen table that just about made my head explode. In that moment, all of my questions paled in comparison to the new conundrum with which I’d been presented: IS THAT CEREAL OR ARE THOSE WAFFLES?
As it turns out, Waffle Crisp tasted like neither, but it somehow managed to achieve cereal-levels of crispy and waffle-levels of soggy all at the same time–through science or something. Still, it garnered a dedicated consumer following and made a name for itself among its enigmatic breakfast food contemporaries, such as French Toast Crunch and Cookie Crisp.
Post has dramatically reduced its production of Waffle Crisp, so you’ll be hard-pressed to find boxes on local supermarket shelves. However, for those who can’t live without it, you can still purchase it online.
Look, Waffle Crisp was cool and all, but Post’s other popular, yet discontinued cereal, Oreo O’s, were the holy grail of early 2000s sugary cereal. Oreo O’s first launched back in 1998, but they only lasted about a decade before being pulled from the shelves in 2007.
It’s hard to believe that it has been almost 10 years without Oreo O’s when I can still taste their near-perfect texture. Like an actual Oreo dipped in milk, Oreo O’s were just a bit soggy, but maintained their crunch factor. For a kid like me, Oreo O’s were the ideal treat.
I wasn’t too into chocolate and I also wasn’t allowed to have sugary cereal in the house, but once in a while my parents would treat me to a bowl of Oreo O’s. I’ll be dreaming of those few and far between bowls until Post reissues the old favorite.