There was a time when our taste buds welcomed anything unhealthy and our stomachs somehow turned everything into energy. Those golden days of youth are long gone, given how hard we’ve turned our backs on our once-favorite foods. We used to love the sweet and savory snacks of the supermarket, but our palate and gut won’t allow us to accept any of those treats nowadays.
Let’s take a stroll down Memory Lane and see how much we’ve changed.
Unless there’s booze in it, Jell-O doesn’t make sense to our generation anymore. Older folks still dig on it for a fruity whipped cream dessert, but virgin Jell-O has served its purpose for us. We used to love to jiggle it, play with it, and ultimately devour a seemingly endless supply. Yet, the thrill is no longer there. Simply put, Jell-O is boring (when you’re not eating a dozen Jell-O shots at a Fourth of July pool party). It just doesn’t deliver much. It’s not even that it tastes bad. It’s just like, “Why?”
For some inane reason, as kids, we thought of ourselves as “on the go.” We had places to be, friends to see, and games to play! Little did we know those were the days of total unabashed freedom. We’ve since learned that eating yogurt can take less than a minute, no matter the shape, and you never in your whole life need to eat a dairy product while sprinting.
Cookies are practically gold bullion when you’re young. Whatever you can get is considered a score. So a package of graham cracker cookies that come with a side of frosting to dip them in is Heaven-sent. You couldn’t believe your luck. But in retrospect, those weren’t good cookies and that wasn’t good frosting. Now, you can buy your own cookies and your own frosting, and almost all offerings are better than Dunkaroos. Hell, you have the brainpower to make your own if you want them now. You can make the best damn cookies and frosting ever and even lick the spoon.
4. Handi Snacks
These were never meant to be a legitimate snack or provision of food. They were invented for parents who just wanted a quiet drive or some kind of peace treaty while they were on the phone. Handi Snacks were built to be forcefully handed or carelessly tossed at a complaining child with a resounding adult-voiced, “Here!” It was plastic-tasting cheese and not even the good kind of fake cheese, like what they serve with stadium nachos. Regardless, when you have your own credit card, these things aren’t even on your radar.
When you’re young, there’s something about fresh, gourmet food that doesn’t sit well with you. You love junk food, and therefore, trust a diet of processed SpaghettiOs. Naturally, this was true love from the get-go, but then one day you realized it was total, absolute garbage. You were lied to by the crafty mascot! It’s trash soup. That’s all.
6. Hostess Cakes
These are still insanely guilty pleasures, but unfortunately, our adult bodies can no longer process the levels of sugar presented — not even a little bit. As a kid, you’d bite into one of these and feel the childhood version of ecstasy. Lightning coursed through you and summer suddenly seemed forever. Flash-forward a decade or two later and a bite of one of these things will bring you to your knees. Two bites will slow you down into a nap. Sugar does not work the same way it used to and Hostess Cakes make us call our doctor and/or dentist now in a panic.
7. Wonder Ball
Apparently, as long as there’s a prize inside a treat, you can make any chocolate containing it as dry and awful as possible. Such was the case of Wonder Ball — a worthless chocolate treat that thrived on mystery/themes/robbery of nougat. It was a baseball-sized chocolate sphere that often had tie-ins to popular pop culture trends. As mayhem youths, prizes from candy, cereal and the like were pretty much the closest thing we had to a Christmas bonus. In retrospect, we were being tricked! It was all a scam!
8. Hot Pockets
These carried over from childhood and they absolutely shouldn’t have. Hot Pockets seem more like they were designed by drunk college students for drunk college students. Maybe that was part of the appeal when we were little, that even we thought, “I should not be allowed to eat this.” Alas, our taste buds evolved as these frozen pockets of goo threatened to keep us on the toilet forever.
9. Chef Boyardee Ravioli
As a kid, you thought spaghetti was the only kind of pasta. Your parents knew deep down that you weren’t ready for all the curveballs that pasta could swing. So they eased you into it with a saucy “fun” version of ravioli from one, Chef Boyardee. It was a revelation! It was also easy for parents to cook up for children who go from content to deranged with hunger in less than a minute. Then, as we got older, we realized that Chef Boyardee is the worst cook ever and should be fired from his job post haste. His cans of pasta make Olive Garden seem like some frou-frou eatery.
10. Dippin’ Dots
When you were 10, it was easy to mistake gimmicks for trends and any new product as the future of mankind. You’ve hardly spent any time on this planet, so any change seems monumental. So when someone gives you frozen balls and tells you it’s the next evolution of ice cream, you not only believe it, you celebrate it. Hell, you want to use your allowance to become an investor. But Dippin’ Dots are a messy idea that only work as a lateral curveball, not an improvement. They don’t even really taste like ice cream. It’s like a homemade snow cone, except everything’s gone wrong.
11. Bubble Gum & Candy Cigarettes
These were only cool because we couldn’t buy real cigarettes (and likely had very little interest in them anyway). Seriously though, edible cigarettes were the best way to distinguish who was on what side in a game of cops and robbers. They made you look older … kind of like the real thing, I guess. So, naturally, we were obsessed with bubble gum and candy cigarettes as an aesthetic device, not necessarily as sustenance. We largely overlooked how much like plastic they were. They were as chewable as Legos.
Sure, this may feel like the ultimate betrayal, but these things absolutely do not taste the way you remember them. When we were young, these packages were the height of luxury. They were a crazy big deal — steaks of the playground. Children would trade entire brown bags for a package, no matter what kind, though pizza was a clear winner. Looking back, you have to wonder if the main ingredient in Lunchables was chalk. They suited us incredibly for a time, but that age has surely passed, friends.
13. Pizza-Flavored Potato Chips
As tykes, we would happily snack on pizza flavoring if actual pizza was unavailable. In fact, it was a dream for a potato chip company to announce a pizza flavor! We’ve since realized that cheap, pizza-flavored powder does not equal pizza — not in the slightest. It’s gross. It’s so gross. Pizza is a terrible flavor for anything that isn’t actually pizza. It doesn’t even taste like pizza.