Thursday, March 26, 2015

Snacks from a 1980s childhood

In the Autumn of 1983, a five-year-old me entered Kindergarten. I was in elementary school during the heart of the 1980s. That meant permed hair, giant plastic glasses, the "amazing" Apple 2C computer (with Oregon Trail, of course), little girls doing hand-slap songs, and boys trying their hardest to get their Hot Wheels to actually achieve a loop via the flimsy yellow track.

What about snacks?  I definitely ate a few things in the 1980s that I would steer clear of today, like:

Vienna Sausages - No offense to anyone who enjoys these, but what was I thinking? I probably ate a little can of these water-packed meat sticks every day after school for years.

Handi-Snacks - Do you remember those individual packs of crackers with a compartment of "cheese" spread and a little red rectangular plastic stick? 1980s kids thought it was so cool to spread our own "cheese" product over our crackers all by ourselves. Unfortunately, it was much less actual cheese than it was a concoction of oil and salt. A lot of salt.

Kool-Aid - My daughter likes the Kool-Aid variety they have today, where you squeeze a bit into your water for zero-calorie flavor, but I'm talking about the original, incomparable Kool-Aid: small envelopes of power you could purchase at the grocery store for a quarter, bring home, and mix with a whopping amount of granulated sugar for a tasty and refreshing beverage. It was pretty much a sugar coma in liquid form.

I fondly remember these delicious must-have snacks for family road trips:

Faygo sodas - I always tried to claim the cream soda first.

Fiddle Faddle - Who doesn't love a candy-coated popcorn and peanut combo?

Runts candy - No one really liked the bananas.

Giggles cookies - These chocolate+vanilla cream-filled treats were always, literally, smiling.

Three of my favorite 1980s snacks are, sadly, no longer with us...

Gibbles Chips - We craved these lard-fried potato chips that could only be found at stores "up north" when we visited Grandma and Granddad. I would attack the bag upon arrival. Gibbles Foods closed in 2013.

Grasshopper cookies - today's Grasshopper cookies mimic the Thin Mints you eagerly devour from the neighbor girl each year, but 1980s Grasshopper cookies were chocolate with a green mint cream filling - and they were awesome.

Jell-O Pudding Pops - Summer was not over until my sister and I consumed boxes upon boxes of Jell-O Pudding Pops (sadly, the 1980s were also a time when Bill Cosby was simply known for being a funny and beloved TV doctor-dad... sigh). 

Were you a 1980s kid? Did I miss an iconic snack? What did you love to munch?

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Linked up to Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop today (10 favorite childhood snacks)


  1. I was a 60s and 70s kid, so the only thing we have in common from your list is Kool-aid. I STILL love Kool-aid, although I drink the sugar-free kind now (it was horrible when it first came out - they've made great strides in that area). Our favorite summer treat was Kool-aid ice cubes. My mom poured Kool-aid into metal ice cube trays. When they froze, we would put a couple in a glass and chip at them with a spoon. Mmmmmm!

  2. I loved the bananas!!!
    I lived for penny candies at the corner store.
    The other day we bought twinkies because I haven't had them since I was a kid and we thought that our son should try it out - man, either they changed the flavour or they always tasted like crap. Yuk!!!

  3. Handi snacks! I used to live for those things. Fun blog!

  4. Talk about a walk down memory lane! My sister used to ALWAYS buy Fiddle Faddle from the store when we were on road trips. It always makes me think of her.

  5. We used to love to camping because that meant we could have vienna sausage and potted ham. I remember after Hurricane Katrina, you couldn't find a vienna sausage to save your soul, and I was perfectly OK with that because ewwwwww.

    Dr. Pepper was a huge treat for us. Grandma would partial it out like it was gold...and in fact, she would hide the cans in her bedroom under her bed. Funny.


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