…Around Here That Somehow Tasted Better Than What (If Anything) Replaced Them. These are in no particular order.
Carrols Apple Pies – Before they became Burger King locations, they were Carrols Hamburgers. We had several Carrols locations locally, and the food was much better than Burger King’s. Maybe it was because it was all new – fast food restaurants. We were so used to eating what Mom made that the novelty of getting a burger, fries, milkshake and pie quickly from a restaurant was quite the thing. Carrols pies were incredible and nothing like either the crispy rectangle of apples or the pre-boxed slices of pre-made apple pie you get today. I could not find any images of the original apple pies, but I remember them looking more like a Hostess pie with a half-moon shape. They were fresh and yummy. I miss those pies! The fries were fresh cut not frozen, and they only came in one size. Carrols slogan was “A Serving A Second”. In honor of my hubby, I include here a picture of the Carrols Club Burger – this was a favorite of his.
TV dinners in aluminum foil – In the 1950’s and 1960’s pre-packaged meals were called TV dinners, and they came in a metal tray and were covered in foil. There were no microwaves so the dinners were baked in the oven. Again maybe because they were a novelty, they sure tasted good. They were a meal that anyone could prepare. According to about.com, “In 1954, Swanson TV Dinners fulfilled two post-war trends: the lure of time-saving modern appliances and the fascination with a growing innovation, the television. More than 10 million TV dinners were sold during the first year of Swanson’s national distribution. For $.98 per dinner, customers were able to choose among Salisbury steak, meatloaf, fried chicken, or turkey, served with potatoes and bright green peas; special desserts were added later.” Today’s microwave meals don’t taste quite the same. Things taste different from the oven (crispier and more tender) than they do from the microwave (sometimes soggier and more rubbery).
Pepperidge Farms (?) Croissant filled with Beef in a Wine Sauce – I don’t remember the exact name, but they no longer make them. I am almost positive they came from Pepperidge Farms. I used to eat them at my Mom’s house, and she baked them in the oven. The outside was flaky like a croissant, and the inside was very tender beef in a red wine sauce. I can’t recall if it was beef merlot or a madeira wine sauce or a beef bourguignon. I tried for months to find them when they disappeared from store shelves. They were the precursor to Hot Pockets, and they were much, much better. I can’t find any images that approximate them or even come close.
Nestlé’s Choco ‘Lite Bar – I always thought this candy bar from the 1970’s was made by Hershey’s, but I see now it was a Nestlé’s candy. I remember it was a thick chocolaty mouthful with a bit of crunch/crackle to it. Hershey’s now has out the Air Delight bar, but it doesn’t taste the same. Like all chocolate today, they’ve taken out a lot of the fat, and that changes the taste.
Armour Hot Dogs – My youngest son has always had an issue with food. He had his favorites when he was little, and you could not make any substitutions. One of the foods he loved was Armour Hot Dogs (“the dog kids love to bite”). I am not sure why, but Armour no longer makes them. We had a real crisis in our house when we could no longer buy them locally. I even tried to order them online, but they seem to have stopped making them. Armour was one of the most popular hot dogs in the 1920’s. I believe Armour was bought out, and the company has changed hands a few times. It’s a shame the brand could not have continued on. My son stopped eating hot dogs for a few years. Nothing else was acceptable. He now will eat the Bar-S Hot dogs, but it took some time to get him to even try them.
Beechnut Peppermint Gum – My Dad was big on chewing peppermint gum when I was a kid. One of the brands he chewed was Beechnut gum. I believe they went out of the chewing gum business years ago. I used to like the fruit stripe gum when I was a kid. My Dad usually had a package of Beechies in the pocket of his corduroy jacket. Today all those sugary gums have been replaced by sugar free gum. I chew Extra myself, but it doesn’t taste quite the same as the Beechnut gums did. Sometimes sugary was good. Beechnut’s roots go back to 1891. Beechnut’s first product was a packaged smoked ham. They patented the first vacuum jar. I believe today they specialize in baby food.
Chocolate Yogurt – At one point there was a chocolate yogurt on the market, and it was more like a slightly bitter pudding. I always suspected it wasn’t low fat. Today’s chocolate yogurt is more of a whipped chocolate foam – not much substance and not much taste. Sorry, Yoplait, it’s not very good. They call it a whipped chocolate mousse style yogurt. I can’t find any images of the brand I liked. It had a green label which makes me think it was made by Healthy Choice, but I can find no reference of it anywhere.
Pizza flavored Hamburger Helper – My oldest son used to love the pizza flavored hamburger helper. It was rich and spicy. He can no longer eat hamburger helper (since his Celiac disease diagnosis). He makes his own homemade brand, but it doesn’t have the pizza flavor we remember. I used to make hamburger helper when the kids were young because it was cheap, it was fairly quick and everyone usually ate it (except son #2). I no longer make it because son #1 can’t have it, and I don’t want to eat that much fat myself. It also seems to make much smaller portions than it used to. It was an innovative product at one time – maybe that’s why we looked forward to having it.
Weaver Chicken Croquettes – Last but not least, my favorite – Weaver Chicken Croquettes. I used to eat them at my Mom’s house, and I used to eat them during the first years of my marriage. They disappeared about 10 years ago. Darn you, Weaver! I loved those. I’m not sure why, but I never tired of them. I can’t find anything that approximates them today. I have eaten at a local diner-style restaurant (Jay’s Diner) that had them on the menu, and they were close to what Weaver made. All Weaver frozen chicken products today seem to copy the McDonald’s Chicken Nugget – that awful pressed, tough chicken covered with a greasy breading. The croquette was more of a shredded or minced chicken – no tough, chewy parts, and it was covered by a crispy (not greasy) breading. The sauce they came with was a cream of chicken type gravy. I didn’t always add the gravy. They were good either way. I think they disappeared when the low fat diet craze came along. I think anything in moderation is fine. I see a lot of postings online and on Weaver Chicken’s Facebook page, asking them to bring back the Croquettes. Maybe they will someday. I can hope.