A very sad thing happened to me last night. As we are in the middle of moving (again!) and I had not unpacked the kitchen yet, the family spent another exciting dinner at the mall food court. I went up to the Taco Bell and tried to order my usual, except my usual no longer exists! I must add it to a long list of products that I loved passionately while they were around, but whose flames I must now carry in my heart alone. Here are a few examples:
THE BAJA CHALUPA
Ok, I will freely admit it. It is probably the worst thing for me that I have ever eaten. And I mean that literally. I was psyched when Taco Bell unveiled the “gordita” (which is just a giant taco), and even more excited when they decided to deep fry it and call it a “chalupa.” Originally there were three different styles, and I always got the “baja.” Why? Very simple. I hate sour cream. Can’t stand it at all. But the baja chalupa had no sour cream. Instead it had “baja sauce,” which was basically mayonnaise. And I love mayonnaise. What could possibly be better than a deep fried taco with mayo? Nothing, that’s what. But now they only make the “supreme” chalupa. It is full of sour cream and heartbreak.
JURASSIC PARK CEREAL
Do you remember when they used to make random cereals for big summer movies? They would basically take a couple of other kinds of cereal, mix them together, and call it something else. I would often try these unholy monstrosities out of sheer curiosity, but I struck gold with Jurassic Park Crunch. It was oat cereal and corn cereal, plus marshmallows! It was somehow a concoction more delicious than the sum of its parts, and I still wish I could gobble it up, T-Rex style. Which, now that I think about it, would mean not using my tiny arms, and just biting at it with my giant head. Maybe I would eat it velociraptor style…
MCDONALD’S HOT MUSTARD SAUCE
It was not hot, it was not mustardy, but by golly it was sauce, and I loved it. I loved it more than anything else on this list. I would seriously take extra packets home with me and use it on sandwiches when I was in college. My good college friend Brick will be happy to tell you about the time I was visiting her new apartment and forgot that I had a few packets in my pockets, which then burst and I spent the day in my underwear, trying to wash McDonald’s Hot Mustard Sauce out of my pants. And it was worth it. I have ordered the mcnuggets exactly once since they canned the hot mustard sauce, and when I found out they didn’t carry it any more, I cancelled my order. There was only ever one good reason to eat a mcnugget, and it was that hot mustard sauce.
QUIZNOS FROM 10 YEARS AGO
Man, Quiznos used to be so good! Now it is just Subway with different cookies. But right before it really broke out and became a truly national chain (i.e., terrible), Quiznos was actually extremely delicious. The bread was almost like real bread. Thick and wide, and they cut it to whatever length you wanted. And the meats and cheeses, oh goodness, it was like they actually came from animals. They would pile it onto a scale to weigh it for you, then rinse it off and build you a fabulous sandwich. The cookies were better. They had Vanilla Coke on tap. They were my perfect chain sandwich place. And then they changed everything. I now find them interchangeable with Subway, except that Quiznos committed the mortal sin of switching over to Pepsi products, so if I am in the mood for a medium to sub-par sandwich served to me quickly and cheaply, I generally pick Subway. But if I had a time machine, I would pick pre-2002 Quiznos every time.
When I was a kid, there were certain things that you took for granted. Saturday mornings were for cartoons, the Red Sox would never win another world series, and Dunkin’ Donuts had the best crullers. Well, here we are, and crullers, like Saturday morning cartoons, are a thing of the past. The Red Sox did win one, I know, but it seems possible that they never will again, so we’ll leave that one be for now. A cruller, in case you didn’t know, is basically just a long donut, but twisted around itself somehow, and I always loved them. When I left for college I guess I kind of forgot about them. I figured they might be more of a Northeastern thing. But now that I am back in Vermont, I am horrified to learn that Dunkin’ Donuts stopped making crullers in 2003. Apparently they make donuts by computer now instead of by hand, and the computers don’t know how to make a cruller. We can still get Koffee Kup crullers (and we do), but I will never forgot going into a Dunkin’ Donuts and counting a cruller among my order.
FESTIVUS ICE CREAM
Brown sugar cinnamon ice cream with gingerbread cookies and a ginger caramel swirl. This was the pure frozen confection perfection that was Ben & Jerry’s Festivus ice cream. A limited batch flavor inspired by the Seinfeld episode, this ice cream was Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas all rolled into one and dancing the dance of the sugarplum fairies on your tongue. But sadly, limited batch means exactly what you think it does. Though they did bring it back a second year, Festivus was with us too short a time. Today, Cinnamon Buns has almost filled that hole in my heart. Almost.
Ok, in hindsight I now realize that all of the items on this list are foods. I guess I am still thinking about that chalupa. But there are tons of other products that I miss too, I swear it! Maybe when I can stop blogging with my stomach I will do a follow-up post dealing with non-food items. Anybody else out there have anything they can’t stop missing, long after its shelf life is up?