Most of you, I surmise, will have eaten things when they were younger – it’s just a guess, mind, but I’m pretty confident in it. I certainly ate things when I was younger, and can remember eating said things quite vividly.
Some of those things, I still eat now, like Haribo Starmix, for example, or Cheestrings. But some things that I used to eat, I no longer eat anymore, either for reasons owing to a documentary I watched on food production (chicken kievs) or because I literally cannot buy them anywhere (Taz bars) or for both of those reasons (Turkey Twizzlers). This is a shame, because certain foods hold a special place in my heart, and did hold a special place in my stomach.
Spurned on by constantly being hungry for the good stuff, I decided to put together my own list – my very personal ideal menu, an open letter to Big Food, a call-to-action: BRING IT ALL BACK.
1. Panda Pops
I’ll start off with a weird one – there’s some sort of peculiar Mandela effect going on here, because I was sure I’d had a Panda Pop at least once this year. They’re wicked, so why wouldn’t I have had one at some point? Well, because they don’t exist anymore – they were discontinued in 2011 due to an abundance of dodgy ingredients. Yeah, but dodgy ingredients that made them taste amazing. Do you remember the shandy ones? Better than real shandy, if you’re asking.
2. Fiendish Feet
I was a peculiar child – whereas most very young kids would sleep with teddy bears and other stuffed toys, I would sleep with a long tube of empty, stacked Fiendish Feet yoghurt pots. Not really sure why I did this – I did own teddy bears – but I did, and that was me, you had to deal with it. So when they were discontinued, I was understandably upset – what was I supposed to sleep with now? Onken? I highly doubt it.
You can still get these if you make enough effort, but you’ll have to order them from the Middle East, because they are entirely absent from our shores now. Originally kicked off the shelves waaaay back in 2008, sweet-fans mourned the loss in an outpouring of internet-grief. It’s a shame really, they were pretty damn good – they had a bleachy sort of taste which really made them stand out. In a good way, genuinely. Like those lovely complimentary blue mints they leave in the toilets.
4. Fizzy Jerkz
I think one thing we can all agree on, is that sour sweets = the best sweets. Tangfastics > Starmix. Sour cola bottles > normal cola bottles. The list continues, and is the reason why Fizzy Jerkz were so good – they were sour and fizzy and sweet and nice and juicy. Also, a rare hard sweet that held its own up against the gummy contingent, and that takes some doing in my book.
5. Flake Snow
Much like sour sweets = the best sweets; white chocolate = the best chocolate. So using the same reasoning as above, Flake Snow > Normal Flake. It’s all pretty simple this, and the sooner Cadbury realise it and bring the little fucker back, the sooner we can all get on with our lives. It’s not rocket science. It’s chocolate science. Chience.
I still don't really know what these were. Were they biscuits? Chocolates? Cereal? All I know is: they were very nice and I liked putting them in my big, obnoxious mouth. Biscuity on the outside, choccy on the inside, with a dumb picture of something indistinguishable and usually entirely rubbed off on the front. Yes, 9/10, would eat.
7. Irn Bru Bars
These, were, the, shit. Sour, spicy, chewy, tough, bright orange, extremely bad for your teeth slabs of wonder that were an unbelievable joy to eat. Of course, they tasted nothing like Irn Bru, but then cheese and onion crisps taste neither like cheese nor onion (still good though, ain’t they?). Unfortunately, you can no longer get them – presumably down to a couple of lawsuits (filed by Marti Pellow’s girlfriend, no less) fired their way claiming dental damage.
However, you can get unofficial Irn Bru flavoured Wham Bars, but I haven’t had one yet so couldn’t possibly comment on this extremely important and divisive matter.
8. Starburst Joosters
Jelly beans are great as they are, but there was something about Joosters that switched up the formula a bit. They somehow improved the jelly bean, and I shall be forever in their debt for that. But then they stopped making them, so they will also forever be under my vengeful death-eye. Luckily debt and vengeance cancel each other out, so I’m going to do fuck-all about it.
9. Baked Beans Pizza
You better know I knocked back a good number of these every Thursday (why was Thursday always pizza day?). No meat, just cheese and beans, and a bit of mayo on the side for dipping the crusts, obvi. Why they stopped making this I will never know, although I’m sure it’s quite easy to make at home. I don’t even think I would have to consult a recipe book, if I’m honest. Could probably get that right first time. I have confidence in myself.
10. Wrigley’s Extra Thin Ice Sheets
I didn't even like the taste of these things, but there was something fascinating about putting something on your tongue and it dissolving almost immediately. I used to buy packets and packets of these, despite my hatred for them. The confectionary equivalent to olives, I guess.
11. Turkey Twizzlers
I can't quite work out which were better, these or turkey drummers, but seeing as you can still get drumsticks, I'm putting this one on the list. Yes, Jamie Oliver's arch nemesis, the humble, processed twizzler, was booted into the sun back in 2005 when the floppy-haired chef waged war against unhealthy school dinners. A shame, yes, but guess what: you can make your own very easily.
12. Polo Holes
Polos are normal mints, but they have a hole in the middle, so they are "different". What they did with Polo Holes was bring out another normal mint, but leave it as exactly that: just a normal mint. The marketing campaign was that it was the tiny pieces missing from regular Polos, but the fact remained: they were just normal mints. Still, they tasted quite nice, and a friend at school once brought a load in in a see-through baggy and convinced everyone he was a drug dealer. I miss them if not just for that, really.
13. Polo Gummies
Yeah, Polos again while we're here. These were like normal gummy sweets, but they had a hole in, so they were different etc etc.
14. Polo Butter Ups
Another Polo one, while I’ve got – haha only joking these were disgusting.
15. Pokemon Cereal
I’ll admit it: I never had this or even knew it existed, but if that isn’t one of the best damn adverts I’ve ever seen, then I am needed elsewhere.
The advert for this featured Trevor and Simon – do you remember them? No? Let's move on then, because we're not talking about comic-relief characters from Live And Kicking, we’re talking about lovely food instead. And Fruitang was one of those lovely foods – a chewy sweet which had little sour crystals potted about (again, thereby proving the previously-mentioned sour rule). Not sure why it went, but there are some things in this world that we will never understand: like, have you ever really thought about giraffes? They’re fucking ridiculous.
17. Pizza Cheestrings
Cheestrings still exist, do NOT worry about THAT. I eat them on the regs, they're great. But once upon a time, there was a pizza flavoured one, and it reigned supreme. It was greasier than the rest (like a real pizza), and was pretty much the same except it has chives in it or something, but as we've already confirmed, things that say they taste like things don't actually have to taste like them. Have you ever had banana Yazoo? It’s ridiculous.
Why do you think a Kinder Surprise egg is so good? It is because it has a toy in it, you idiot. And this exact reason is why Frufoo was so good – it was a yoghurt, but it had a toy in it, you idiot.
19. Boost Guarana
The normal Boost bar is a pretty top-notch chocolate bar as it is, the peanut one (a Starbar) is my favourite chocolate bar of all time, and at one point there was an ‘energy’ one. Of course, a non-health-based chocolate bar being marketed as providing extra energy didn’t really stand up to scrutiny. Even if it was green on the inside.
I guess all we've got now, that comes even slightly close, is a Freddo. And I'll be honest – I can take or leave a Freddo. If someone gives one to me for free, hell yeah I'll eat it, but I ain't paying for one and I don't think I ever have. The Taz, on the other hand, much better – it was filled with caramel, for starters. Also, Taz could beat a dumb frog in a fight, no contest.
21. Penguin Flipper Dipper
Penguins are, let's admit it, pretty sodding boring. But Penguin Flipper Dippers? Hoah, they were a different kettle of chocolate – essentially deconstructed Penguin bars, but with added white chocolate (see above, somewhere) – they brought in a, sometimes necessary, DIY element to your snacking.
You probably first got one of these off your Grandma, but unlike Werther’s Original, you actually bought them of your own accord soon after. Juicy strawberries and cream in a small nodule that lasts a ridiculous amount of time (unless you crunch it, you dang weirdo): they are the perfect sweet to eat in a conservatory when it’s raining outside, whatever that means.
23. Time Out
Here's another one for you – bet you didn't even know these didn't exist anymore. They were available as recently as 2016, but they are no longer. A lovely, staple double-dose of chocolate-covered wafer, they are now a mere memory on the cocoa scrap heap. At least in a sense, anyway: you can now buy a single ‘Time Out Wafer’, which contains less calories, and presumably, less fun.
24. Cadbury Marble
It’s basically Dairy Milk, but it’s got white chocolate AND praline chucked in for the sod of it. Those three things together meant a very good time at the old mouth-party. But as with all good things, it was cruelly snatched away from us by the powers that be, forcing us to eat normal, standard Dairy Milk. Will you join my rebellion? I’m thinking of starting one. Like, maybe it’ll just be a Twitter account, but still.
Actually, I’m too tired to even do that. Call it off. As you were.
25. Bursting Bugs
I’m a big fan (and always have been) of eating things that look a bit gross, but don’t taste it. So like, when you could get those Fruit Pastilles Body Parts, for example – eating eyes that taste like strawberry is way better than eating an actual eye. Trust me.
So it stands to reason that eating Bursting Bugs – chewy sweets that explode in a shower of goo in your mouth – is better than eating real bugs. It’s not, as it happens, but it’s still really nice. You just can’t beat crunching a locust’s head until its brain slips down your throat. Trust me.