McDonald s Pizza

Do you remember McDonald’s Pizza? If you don’t, you’re apparently not alone. In fact, if you’d Googled “mcdonalds pizza” before March of this year, your resources would have been scarce. Since then, the subject briefly went viral – there’s even a podcast extensively devoted to the subject.

The reality is, McDonald’s Pizza was test marketed in over 500 locations between 1989 and 1991. From the jump, it seems like it was doomed to fail – a special oven was needed that took up precious space, it reportedly took 11 minutes to cook (a lifetime in fast food minutes, obviously), and special drive-thru windows had to be installed so the family-size pizzas could fit through.

In the end, it did indeed meet its demise, for any of these reasons or just because it wasn’t popular enough. But one franchisee refused to get the message, and continued to sell pizzas in two locations – Pomeroy, Ohio and Spencer, West Virginia. Unfortunately, McDonald’s corporate eventually caught wind of this rogue hero, and those two locations shut down pie production in August of this year.

McDonald’s Pizza is now well and truly gone, even if you never knew it was there to begin with.

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The pizzas were available in personal or family size, and the toppings offered were cheese, pepperoni, sausage, and deluxe (sausage, peppers, mushrooms, and onions). Here’s the thing – for the first time, I’m writing about a food I never actually had the opportunity to taste.

From all the resources I’ve gathered, feelings about McDonald’s Pizza range from “bland” and “the sauce was too sweet” to fond memories of it rivaling the taste of big chain places like Pizza Hut. For the record, the podcaster previously mentioned got to try it this year, and called it “everything I had hoped for”.

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I knew about the two locations still serving McDonald’s Pizza before they were forced to stop, but I just didn’t have the resources to travel 2,000 miles to try it. I sure wish I could have, though, just for the novelty of the experience.

Given the logistics, I doubt we’ll ever see McDonald’s Pizza again, and that’s probably for the best. While I never did get to try it, I doubt it could compete not only with the big chains that deliver today but also with the ability to order from mom ‘n’ pop places that can now deliver via apps like DoorDash.


Doritos 3Ds 1

Waysnack Machine is a series that looks back at discontinued products.

You may think you’ve had Doritos 3D’s recently –- you know the ones; thick, triangular, kinda look like a tiny maze? They’re officially called Doritos Jacked 3D, and they’re not your grandma’s 3D Doritos. In this case, I am your grandma, because I am old, and I remember the original Doritos 3D’s.

Also, a quick Internet check seems to indicate that Doritos Jacked 3D have ceased to be on store shelves. So we have, yet again, been relegated to a 2D Dorito life.

But this post is about the OG Doritos 3D’s. Imagine, if you will, a literal 3D Dorito – like a puffed-up, fully-enclosed Bugle, but significantly thinner. These babies looked like they could actually float.

They only lasted from the late 90s to the early aughts, but I remember them quite well for several reasons. First off, the idea of a sort of popped, puffy Dorito sounds (and looks) cool, but there was a strange disconnect between putting something with such a large surface area in your mouth, and then crunching down and finding only…air. I’m surprised I never chipped a tooth chomping down too aggressively on Doritos 3D’s. They didn’t have as strong a Nacho Cheese flavoring as regular Doritos, which to me was quite disappointing.

Second, given their fragility, buying a bag of these was buying a bag of shattered dreams. And chips. Luckily, Doritos found a way around that by introducing a fun plastic canister for them to safely reside in. Actually, I have no idea if the canister was created for Doritos 3D’s, but it’s the only time I got one.

You could also use the cap as a little serving cup. Not a big deal now, but cool as heck when you’re a dumb kid. Plus, you could reuse the can to store things, and all those things would then smell like cheese dust! So many of my trinkets smelled like cheese dust.

By the way, Doritos 3D’s do still exist, in one place – Mexico. They seem to be always available for purchase on eBay if you think a shipped bag of popped chips is going to arrive intact.

Oh, and if all this isn’t enough, Doritos 3D’s got a commercial starring Ali Landry (who got her start in another Doritos commercial) and a young Sean Hayes, getting up to some chip-related hijinks in a laundromat. There’s no way Doritos 3D’s would have withstood the impact of hitting a dryer door. Just sayin’.

There are many “popped” products these days, but there’s nothing quite like Doritos 3D’s currently on shelves. I prefer the Doritos 3D’s of my memories, but those weird little pillows seem like something that could make a good comeback.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Cinnamon Vanilla Lucky Charms Cereal

Limited Edition Cinnamon Vanilla Lucky Charms

Guys, wow. This is big. This is Lucky the Leprechaun (aka Sir Charms, which is how I will now and forever more think of him) doing a Babe Ruth point to the center field bleachers.

Since its debut in 1964, Lucky Charms has changed its marbits (another LC name I was unaware of until now, and love almost as much as Sir Charms) quite often, reflecting holidays and general times-a-changin’. I still remember my world being somewhat rocked when red balloons came out in 1989. In my defense, I was eight; my world was rocked on pretty much a daily basis.

But the oats, the oats were a constant. Minus the no-brainer introduction of Chocolate Lucky Charms in 2005, it’s always been oats and marbits, living harmoniously together in a well-balanced ratio.

But now, in this year that has been so tumultuous, so uncertain, Sir Charms comes along and brings us a gift: Limited Edition Cinnamon Vanilla Lucky Charms.

Gosh darn, if that isn’t a lovely winter wonderland of a box. It’s October as I write this, but I’m hearing jingle bells instead of spooky ghosts. You truly are magic, Sir Charms!

Limited Edition Cinnamon Vanilla Lucky Charms 2

And that magic continues on the back. There are several fun puzzles to solve, although I could have done without the snowman with no eyes. There’s also a riddle: “If snowmen can’t take baths, how do they keep clean?”

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There are only three unique marbits in this limited edition cereal, but surprisingly, they differ from 2005’s Winter Lucky Charms, although they are much less varied. While not explicitly listed on the box, it appears they were going for a snowball, a snowflake, and a snowman. What actually came out was a generic aspirin, a rejected asterisk and…listen guys, I’m trying to keep it clean here because this is such a darn cute box of cereal. A bowling pin? Does that work?

Limited Edition Cinnamon Vanilla Lucky Charms 4

Upon opening the box, it smelled only of oats. Which was a bit of a relief, since I didn’t want to be blasted with cinnamon. Tasted dry, it came off as a nice, warm cinnamon paired with a hefty amount of sugar – sort of like a Cinnamon Toast Crunch Light.

Limited Edition Cinnamon Vanilla Lucky Charms 5

In milk, the cinnamon flavor almost entirely disappears, much to my disappointment. The marbits fulfill the vanilla part, but I wanted more of that warm cinnamon flavor. I was hoping for an oat-y Cinnamon Toast Crunch with bonus marshmallows, but I got a mostly regular Lucky Charms with a hint of cinnamon instead.

That said, Lucky Charms rock, and adding a touch of cinnamon makes them a little bit better. Plus, we got some special winter (they tried) marshmallows, and the cereal milk was a very light cinnamon vanilla flavor, which was lovely.

Limited Edition Cinnamon Vanilla Lucky Charms didn’t charm my pants off. It could be better. But a new LC is special in and of itself, so they get some extra points for trying.

By the way, did you figure out the answer to the riddle?

(Nutrition Facts – 3/4 cup – 110 calories, 10 calories from fat, 1 gram of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 55 milligrams of potassium, 22 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 10 grams of sugar, 11 grams of other carbohydrates, and 2 grams of protein,.)

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 11.5 oz. box
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: A new Lucky Charms flavor. Learning about “Sir Charms”. Hints of warm cinnamon. Great box design. Tasty cereal milk.
Cons: For once, I wanted a stronger cinnamon flavor. Snowmen with no eyes. Vanilla seemed to only come from marshmallows. Marbits shapes are…questionable.

WAYSNACK MACHINE: Pop Secret Pop Qwiz Popcorn

Pop Secret Pop Qwiz

Waysnack Machine is a series that looks back at discontinued products.

I’ve always loved popcorn. One of my favorite childhood memories is my dad making it in a pan, pouring the kernels out from one of those big plastic canisters of good ol’ Orville Redenbacher.

I’d stand there in the kitchen, waiting for the first pop, then listening to the following explosion of kernels, until we got down to that three-second count that meant it was ready. Then he would melt some butter in the already-hot pan and pour it over the bowl, adding generous amounts of salt.

There was one point, however, where I took ownership of my own popcorn destiny. That sentence has a really inflated sense of self-importance, but what I’m getting at is that in 1991, Pop Qwiz came out, and ten-year-old me was more than ready for it.

Why would a kid know or care about a very specific brand of popcorn? Well, Pop Secret (the maker of Pop Qwiz) went apeshit bonkers with their marketing. The commercial for Pop Qwiz had D-rate Zach Morris wearing a jacket I swear I owned, zany music, and a bunch of kids trying to win the “qwiz” (ugh) by guessing which color would “pop up next.”

You see, the gimmick behind Pop Qwiz was that it came in small, different-colored bags, but the color of the popcorn inside the bag didn’t necessarily match the color outside. That’s right, it was popcorn that came in neon-bright colors! Red, green, blue, yellow, purple, and…orange? I think orange was the sixth color. Obviously, yellow was the dud, since buttered popcorn already came in that color. I always considered green to be the win, as it seemed to be the most vibrant of the bunch.

Pop Secret Pop Qwiz 2

In addition to the color guessing, there was also a bunch of puzzles and activities on the box. The popcorn equivalent of a breakfast cereal box. Between that and the commercials, who could resist?

It’s a shame the popcorn tasted like flavorless styrofoam and the bag held little more than a handful of popcorn. I’m not sure when Pop Qwiz was discontinued, because my interest soon waned, despite the novelty of colored popcorn. I guess I was just spoiled by my dad’s buttery, salty approach to making popcorn (and the copious amounts I received).

Mystery flavors have made a comeback recently, so I could see Pop Qwiz becoming popular once more. If they did bring it back, they’d better work on taste and portions, though, because novelty wears off quickly.

WAYSNACK MACHINE: Freshen-Up Gum and Soda Liquid Center Gum

Freshen Up Gum

Why are children obsessed with gum? This is purely anecdotal evidence, but as a kid I was always chewing gum, and pretty much every child around me was the same way. I’m not exaggerating; unless I was eating something, I was chewing gum, and sometimes I even tried to do both at the same time. Did you know chocolate makes gum dissolve? I found that out personally, and it is profoundly gross.

I even did that thing where I would “save” my gum overnight, usually by sticking it against the wall since I didn’t have a fancy headboard like every kid who does this in the movies. Why? Couldn’t I just get a fresh piece in the morning? You were weird, child me.

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One of my fondest gum memories is Freshen-Up. It came in four flavors – Bubble Gum, Spearmint, Peppermint, and Cinnamon – and when you bit into them, a gel-like/liquid center with the same (but more intense) flavor would squirt into your mouth, which is much more fun than I make it sound.

CC Amurol AW Root Beer liquid center bubble gum pack wrapper 1983

Image via Collecting Candy.

I loved cinnamon Freshen-Up until I found an even more fun version of this concept – soda-flavored squirty gum! My fondest memory is of the A&W Root Beer variety; when you chomped down on it, what amounted to a melted root beer barrel was squirted into your mouth in the most delightful way. I also remember there being a Dr. Pepper variety, and the Internet tells me there were also 7-Up, Cherry 7-Up, RC Cola and even Slush Puppy (?!) flavors.

I never knew it had a brand name, but apparently the manufacturer was Amurol, the folks who brought you Big League Chew, Bubble Tape, and possibly every other novelty gum you’ve ever seen.

I thought Freshen-Up was long gone, but apparently it’s been available on Amazon as late as 2015. I have no idea how long the soda varieties lasted, but they have a distinct 80s feel to them.

I’d love to have the opportunity to bite into a liquid-center soda gum again, but I doubt I would take up the habit. Much like the flavor of the gum stuck to my wall, my desire for gum has all but faded away.