5 Foods From the 90s They Should Really, Really Bring Back
I rant a lot about how kids these days have it easy, what with their Spark Notes, Wikipedia, smart phones, and easy access to porn, but one of things I will never envy about '00s kids is their food.
Sure, they were born into a sort-of food renaissance and have their pick of menus from both brick and mortars and luxe loncheras, but man, there are just some things that they're missing out on. 90s kids know, we had some of the best snack food to ever exist. But the worst part? Kids these days don't even know how bad they have it because they don't how good it used to be.
Case in point: Here are five foods from the 90s they realllly need to bring back.
5. Ecto Cooler
When I was in school, there were only two acceptable flavors of Hi-C: "red" (there are actually a half dozen or so "red" flavors, but no one differentiated) and Ecto Cooler, a run of rebranded green-colored, citrus-flavored sugar water created to capitalize on the waning popularity of the Ghostbusters.
The cartoon series that Ecto Cooler was connected to, The Real Ghostbusters, actually ran for seven seasons, but that pales in comparison to the drink itself, which was popular for years after the show was cancelled.
Then, in the most unadvised marketing move in existence, Minute Maid "discontinued" Ecto Cooler in 2001, rebranding it Shoutin' Orange Tangergreen. A few years later? It's completely gone.
Sure, a few people figured out a similar recipe but Ecto Cooler was some of the most efficient trade bait that was ever found in lunch bags. To think that grade schoolers won't get to learn the economics of running a mini sugar cartel any longer is just tragic.
4. French Toast Crunch
Cinnamon Toast Crunch is fine, but in 1995 General Mills introduced the United States to the cereal's more attractive foreign cousin, French Toast Crunch.
Things started out well. French Toast Crunch's cutesy, Texas-toast appearance stood out from everything else on the market, and the mellow maple flavor was pleasant without obnoxiousness. But things started to change. After a few years, French Toast Crunch started taking after its American cousin, losing its mini-toast-like form completely for the more familiar flakes of corn.
Before the changes got too drastic, French Toast Crunch fled the country and is now found in Canada exclusively. Those reminiscent of an old romance can relive it -- for a price. Services that ship the cereal from Canada to the United States exist, but is $20 worth it for a box of cereal? Your call.
3. Lychee Cups, Original Wonder Balls, Kinder Surprise
Lychee cups were some of the best Asian snacks to ever be imported into the United States. They consisted of a small piece of fruit encased by semi sweet, fruit-flavored gel and came in little pods the size of a large coffee creamer. Unfortunately for those who understand the concept of "chewing," some people -- children and adults alike -- choked on the snacks. They were banned in the European Union and were flagged with import warnings in the United States, making much more difficult to find and much more expensive.
That wasn't the first time that the apparent misunderstanding of "what is food" has vanished something from store shelves. Wonder Balls and Kinder Surprises, hollow chocolate spheres that contained toys and other knick-knacks were banned in the United States because of, you guessed it, choking hazards.
They can still be found, but the more hookups you have, the better.
2. Rice Krispies Treats Cereal
In the early '00s, Kellogg's debuted a "new" version of their classic Rice Krispies, Rice Krispies Treats Cereal. It was simple enough; the company made a large batch of Rice Krispies Treats, broke it up and stuck the resulting fragments in a box. The results were amazing. Some kids would forego milk altogether and eat straight from the box. Those who had the iota of patience necessary for a bowl of milk were rewarded with a wonderfully elegant dance between the perfect amount of crunch and moistness. And at the end of the bowl? Free Rice Krispies in flavored milk.
Rice Krispies Treats Cereal Treats Cereal is still made today, but it's getting more and more difficult to find. According to Kellogg's online search tool, no stores within 30 miles of OC Weekly headquarters stocks the cereal. Is it worth ordering online? Yes, yes, yes.
1. Crispy M&M's
A relic from time immemorial
Crispy M&M's were the best variety of M&M's ever made. Slightly larger than the standard plain candy, each Crispy M&M contained a piece of crisped rice at the center. The crispy candy greatly outsold the plain variety until it was unceremoniously whisked away for unknown reasons. Varieties are still available in Europe, but they're just not the same.
Pretzel M&Ms debuted in 2010 in the same blue bag, but they're just an imposter. Nothing but the original can replace that candy.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Orange County dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.