Food News

Foods of the '90s That Deserve an Ironic Comeback

If Urban Outfitters had the equivalent of IKEA's Swedish Food Market, the shelves would be stocked with products valued either for their mall-ready alt sensibilities or their ironic appeal; e.g. quinoa pancake mix, Japanese candies, gummy mustaches. Certainly, there would be room for dozens of out-of-circulation products from the late '80s and '90s. One can almost picture going to a party in the Design District and bumping into a guy in skinny jeans and a greasy handlebar 'stache, sipping on a spiked Orbitz while offering you a Gusher with a smirk; "Try one. They're so extreme."

With that in mind, here are seven bygone food and drink products of the '90s that seem ready for an ironic comeback:

7. BoKu - The juice box for neurotic grownups was the perfect party drink for "men of the '90s" who couldn't cope with the fizzy effects of colas but evidently had no qualms about rocking the fluffiest mullet you've seen this side of Patrick Swayze's Roadhouse bouffant.     

6. Corn Nuts - Wash down these molar crackers with a vintage bottle of Surge while pretending not to be genuinely interested in the NASCAR race playing during the Trailer Trash theme party in your friend's waterfront condo.

5. Bubble Tape - Not as representative of potential contraband as Bubble Beeper Bubble Gum, Bubble Tape still had the desired effect -- like HubbaBubba Squeeze Pop Liquid Candy and those baseball-sized jawbreakers -- of eliciting repulsion from adults and all but guaranteeing that your dentist would be able to afford his next boat payment.

4. Cinn-a-Burst - It's time to bring back the only chewing gum bold enough to recognize that adults simply can't handle the flavor intensity of cinnamon.

3. Suddenly S'mores - How in the hell did a product that capitalized on Americans' passion for stomachachy sugar bombs and overriding laziness ("S'mores are hard to make!") fail to last? It's gonna be another complicated summer of painstakingly assembling those three ingredients on your own unless Nabisco brings this one back.

2. Zima - This citrus fizzy booze water -- reminiscent of fellow '90s throwback Clearly Canadian, if blended with lemon Pledge and left to ferment -- must be how emasculation tastes when bottled.

1. Crystal Pepsi - Crystal Pepsi debuted to robust sales in 1992 only to be pulled from the shelves in 1993 when consumers learned it tasted exactly like floor cleaner. It should have been a mere footnote in soft drink history, but the bombastic ad campaign and sheer '90s-ness of the product have allowed it to live on in the memory of Gen X. On the scale of beverage fiascoes, this bomb falls somewhere between New Coke and Four Loko in terms of "Well -- that didn't really go as planned." Fingers crossed that it makes a special return to stores this December in time for all those Bad Sweater parties.  

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Tricia Woolfenden