If we are friends, it's only a matter of time before I will bring up the Nestle Alpine White candy bar.
Any road trip will inevitably include a gas station stop in which I will bemoan the loss of this great American candy bar. Friendships have been cemented and suspicions have been raised over the Alpine White.
I'm going to speak from the heart. The Alpine White was white chocolate with almonds in it. The white chocolate was that perfect level of drug store candy bar melty -- hold it in your hand a little too long (so hold it at all) and the imprinted "Nestle" logo would not snap apart, but rather BEND and STRETCH. N-EEEE-S-T-L-EEEEEEE. Fluffy Kitten Afterlife bliss.
And the almonds? Just right. Almonds in every bite, but the chocolate got to shine.
I like to imagine a focus group from the 80s biting into various candy bars laid before them labeled "A", "B" and "C", all with varying levels of almonds. "WE CHOOSE B!" the 80s people cry, the not-too-many-not-too-few almond choice, and the Nestle scientists quickly "Hmm" and nod as they record their findings on clipboards.
Then there's the Alpine White song, the greatest candy bar -- nay! -- commercial song ever written. Sophie B. Hawkins, I know you feel me.
It's stuck in your head now, right? GOOD.
Alpine White's the very best
Truer words have never been 80s sang.
All right, I'm not that rabid (yes, I am) over the Alpine White, but it is a discontinued food that I mourn more than I care to admit.
It's amazing how fired up people can get about the foods, specifically snack or junk foods, that they can no longer get. Yes, they were delicious, but there is also a nostalgia and very often a story connected to that food that is highly personal. But isn't that why food is awesome? Food can be emotions and memories and deliciousness all tied up into a Jell-O Pudding Pop.
I can't even EAT some of these foods anymore, but I just want to know that SOMEONE can.
So here are some of my favorite discontinued foods from days gone by. I hope this elicits a gasp or squeal of delight, and even a story or two that you have to share with your coworker. Because I know you're at work right now, and I know you're hungry.
ROCKY ROAD CEREAL
"It's got a chocolaty nutty coated marshmallow, too!" I think that's the lyric from the Rocky Road Cereal commercial with the cereal rock band.
When I was a kid, fruity, marshmallowy, chocolaty cereal was a point of contention in my house. I wanted it, and I rarely got it. Which is curious, because my mom considered toasted bread, drenched in syrup to be a superior breakfast choice.
Nonetheless, my mom caved on Rocky Road Cereal a couple times and through the sugar buzz, I saw the light. Breakfast cereal marshmallows are hands down the best marshmallows in my book, and Rocky Road's crispy little sugar nuggets covered in chocolate were alone worth the price of admission.
I'm not even sure if they were really coated in chocolate, really they were coated in "brown" and the "brown" made me think I was tasting chocolate?
It didn't matter; I'd eat all the marshmallows out of the box then eat the leftover puffed cereal merely as a consolation.
I just hope that if Rocky Road Cereal ever comes back, it is magically gluten free, because if it isn't, that would be the deepest (cereal) cut of all.
My favorite Squeez-It story is as follows:
When we first moved to Texas when I was 12, my mom and I were lost in a desert of "y'alls" and armadillos. That first summer my mom was lonely and in need of grown-up friends. Mitchell appeared in the form of a young, sweet, hip, gay man who sort of took my mom under his wing and gave her a social life again.
Early on in their friendship, Mitchell came over to our apartment for dinner, a dinner that my mom and I realized AFTER he arrived that we were not prepared to serve. This became abundantly clear when my mom offered Cool Mitchell a choice of juice, milk or water to drink, and when he chose juice, we realized we did not have said juice.
Thinking quickly, I grabbed an old, warm Squeez-It from my backpack and handed it to my mom. Giggling uncontrollably in the kitchen, we tried to dispense the Squeez-It quietly into a glass, but all it would do is make a "SKWOOSH SKWOOSH" sound, which I suppose is part of its intended charm but isn't exactly going to impress your adult friends.
We were laughing so hard that my mom said Mitchell probably thought we were going to kill him or something, which made us laugh harder. 10 minutes later I sweetly brought him the glass of iced down, old Squeez-It. He smiled kindly at my mom's weird daughter, and politely sipped the "punch."
This is why I love Squeez-Its.
There was fruit in these right? So they were healthy and thus deserving of continuation, right?
Yeah, yeah, I know that the 80s and 90s were arteries clogged full of fruit snacks, but getting these guys in my lunch sack was a small victory in the face of peanut butter and syrup sandwiches (again with the syrup mom, wtf), and white rice in a Ziploc bag.
How did I grow to adult height I wonder?
The blue ones were my favorite, for no other reason than I like blue foods, but if today you handed me a fist full of white ones (mystery flavor?) I would not be above gobbling them straight out of your sweaty little hand.
The vaguely shark shape made them taste better. Truth.
JELL-O PUDDING POPS
So Jell-O made pudding pops for a while then they went away. Then Popsicle made pudding pops for a while, then they went away. WHY DO PUDDING POPS KEEP GOING AWAY?!
Not quite ice cream, not a Popsicle, Pudding Pops were the creamy, chewy (yes, they were chewy and that was the best part) antidote to those who hated the goopiness of traditional pudding. So me.
I know you can make your own, or buy imitations, but that very specific Jell-O TASTE (vaguely, delightfully, plasticky) and TEXTURE cannot be replicated. Nobody I've ever asked has denied the Jell-O Pudding Pop's goodness.
Bill Cosby does not lie.
PLANTERS CHEEZ BALLS
You knew the party had started when the blue can came out.
Or at least the party of me and my high school BFF and the latest episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."
I don't care what anybody says, these cheese balls tasted better than Cheetos or that big plastic barrel of cheese puffs from Costco or Walgreens. And that blue can made the Cheez Balls just a little bit more CLASSY than simply ripping open a bag of Doritos (not that there's anything wrong with Doritos).
Maybe I'm deluded but the orange cheese product powder on these little fellas tasted just so much CHEESIER and saltier, and the texture was just a bit harder than the typical cheese puff. Or maybe I just always ate them stale, which is how I prefer many of my foods (Peeps, gummy bears, Swedish Fish).
Either way, my parties (reruns of "30 Rock" with my cat) are just a little sadder now without them.
So what do you miss? What is your Alpine White? Is Alpine White your Alpine White?
I didn't have time to run down all the greatest discontinued snacks, let alone all the ones that were devoted to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. That's its own post altogether.
We all have a food we longingly look for every time we're at the grocery store, and I want to know what yours is.
To jog your memory I leave you with this: