Back When Popsicles Had Two Sticks

I was informed this morning that my favorite Starbucks beverage — a Quad Venti Nonfat No-Whip Mocha Valencia — would soon be removed from the menu and no longer offered. The Valencia syrup is being discontinued entirely and so we who enjoy a dash of orange in our morning coffee are left with a great big bland spot where the zing used to be. I suspect some senior bean-counter at the corporate offices determined the demand for orangey mochas wasn’t worth keeping even a diminished supply of syrup. Then he probably went golfing with the guy from Nabisco who decided to nix the orange, lemon, and lime LifeSavers back in 2003.

Anyway, as I sipped what might be my last Starbucks Mocha Valencia, I couldn’t help but reflect on the various other products which have either ceased to exist or become impossible to find here in the Seattle area. Here are the ones that came to me in the time it takes me to suck down 20 ounces of hot milk:

MJB Beef-Flavored Rice
Status: No Longer Available

I loved this stuff when I was a kid. Mom used to prepare it as a side dish when she made pot roast. You’d have your meat, red potatoes, carrots, green beans, and a big ol’ heap of MJB beef-flavored rice. Always used to beg mom to make two boxes. She never would, of course. Told me to fill the gaps with green beans instead. If I’d have known MJB was going to discontinue the greatest side dish ever conceived, I’d have spent every last dime of my allowance on the stuff. Saved it in big, hermetically sealed bags. I’d probably be eating a bowl of it right now, too, dammit.

Best Possible Substitute: Golden Grain Beef-Flavored Rice-a-Roni

Donald Duck Orange Juice
Status: Supposedly Still Available

This stuff just up and disappeared one day, sort of like electric cars. It was kind of weird, actually, because after it was gone and I’d ask store personnel what happened to the Donald Duck OJ, they’d look at me like I was speaking in riddles consisting only of cuss-words. I was regularly assured that they had no idea what I was talking about and that my language was not appreciated.

A small amount of digging, though, lead me to the website of the company that still possesses the rights to Donald’s likeness acquired by Citrus World in 1940. Turns out that Citrus World now calls itself Florida’s Natural Growers. Their website clearly states:

Today, we produce 40 million cases under the names Florida’s Natural®, Growers Pride®, Bluebird®, Texsun®, Adams®, Vintage®, and Donald Duck®. Florida’s Natural Growers products are sold in almost every major US supermarket and in more than 60 countries around the world.

Okay, fine. But search the site for any other mention of Donald Duck OJ and you’ll come up empty-handed. In fact, Google it and you’ll also find frighteningly little.

Best Possible Substitute: Florida’s Natural Original Orange Juice

Quisp Cereal
Status: Still Available

Grew up on this particular brand of morning tooth-rot. Screw the Cap’n Crunch; Quisp was better-tasting, less mouth-shredding, and had a far cooler mascot character. I haven’t seen it in stores around here in some time, so I was delighted to find that I could order it online and have it shipped to my front door along with a nice Quisp long-sleeved t-shirt. Awesome.

Pop Rocks
Status: Available in Name Only

The history of Pop Rocks is a bit strange — invented by General Foods, bought by Kraft, and now made by a Spanish company called Zeta Espacial SA — and I honestly don’t care enough beyond that to read the book. All I want to say is, original patent be damned, the candy that calls itself Pop Rocks today is not the same thing as what I spent my lunch money on back in 1977. That stuff exploded. Add a mouthful of Coke and it was like a tiny civilization was having the Fourth of July inside your mouth (but without the acrid stench of black powder, of course). The stuff today, well, it’s less like exploding fireworks and more like a kid with a roll of caps. Perhaps its the difference in perception three decades can make, I don’t know, but the end result either way is that I miss Pop Rocks.

Best Possible Substitute: None

Bottle Caps
Status: Available in Name Only

Another beloved candy of my youth, now just one of many wonderful confections which have been spoiled, quite ironically, by the candy-maker going by the name of Wonka. When Breaker Confections introduced Bottle Caps back in 1972, there were only four flavors: Cola, Root Beer, Lemon-Lime, and Orange. They were fantastic. Way better than Smarties or SweetTarts. Nowadays, they come in five flavors: Cola, Root Beer, Orange, Grape, and Cherry. Bleh. I tried the present day versions of the first three (those being the only original flavors) and, you guessed it, they were definitely not the soda-pop candies of my youth but an obvious example of quality sacrificed for profit.

Best Possible Substitute: None

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I might go whip up a gut-clogging classic that, as far as I can tell, hasn’t changed in the last thirty years: Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Hey, cut me some slack, it’s a guilty pleasure! I’d rather have MJB Beef-Flavored Rice, trust me.

UPDATE: Wow, I never expected my wave of nostalgia to sweep up so many people! The list of items we all miss just gets longer and longer. I figure it’s time to really give everyone’s sentimentality bone a good knock (well, everyone over 30, I guess). Take a trip back to the grocery stores of the 50s, 60s, and 70s with me, won’t you? Just look at all the awesome snacks and cereals!

In addition to Quisp, I used to consume copious amounts of Freakies.

Ah, to be twelve again…

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About kirkstarr

I draw pictures for a living.
This entry was posted in The VOX Years, [this is good] and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

66 Responses to Back When Popsicles Had Two Sticks

  1. Dancing Bear says:

    I am just as impressed with your morning beverage. I can scarcely muster "Coffee" in the morning,lol. Kevin used to drink Grand Marnier because he too is an orange person. I am also Citrus and would gladly have a grapefruit, orange, lemon, or lime anything beverage to all others. I also wash my hair with it, burn candles scented with it and love to have bowls of them on tables. Our kitchen is literally painted lemon/lime. Top lemon. Bottom lime. I also enjoyed Quisp, Bottlecaps (Root Beer my favorite. The Cinnamon in Quisp is what made it so good but as you pointed out much less severe gum damage than the Captain. I used to buy MJB boullion beef broth. Recently if not mistaken. Wonder if a combo of that with a beef Rice-a-Roni would make a reasonable fake blend for your longing. I liked pop rocks on my tongue. Since I was called Mikey my whole life I was told that Mikey's stomach exploded while eating pop rocks and drinking Coke. May I add a missed item? Fruit Float. Nobody ever remembers this one. It was this gloppy fruit stuff you blended with milk and it made a yogurtlike pudding with particles of fruit floating in it. The commercial showed lots of little ones trying to say it three times fast (as we did with everything back then). Fruit Float Fruit Froat Flute Frote. Please somebody remember this.

  2. Torch says:

    Unbelievable! My favorite (non-alcoholic) drink of all time was a Breve Mocha Velancia – until the jerks at the Starbucks front office decided to kill it! (Even got Auds hooked just before the lynching!)
    I agree on Pop Rocks. Thought it was just me – but I think they un-zinged those things…
    Great post!

  3. This is awsome (and yet so very sad). I feel your pain. Wishing you success in all of the grieving stages.

  4. crankypants says:

    How about Danish Go-Rounds? They were like Pop-Tarts but no filling. It was like the pop tart crust with icing in a swirl formation. good stuff.
    I found King Vitamin cereal a few years back…that was a blast from the past but I don't really look beyond the infinite varieties of Cheerios these days so whether it is available I don't know.
    Funny you should mention Donald Duck OJ though…for some reason I was thinking about that earlier this week….
    Okay, it's not your morning beverage of choice, but have you ever had a Terry's chocolate orange? Mmmmmm, has to be dark chocolate though…mmmmm

  5. Shawn Smith says:

    🙂 The urban myths surrounding pop rocks and cola still abound in the dark corners of the internet… some still say you could explode by consuming enough of both at the same time!

  6. Molly says:

    I quite enjoy Pop Rocks.

  7. Auds says:

    I was also highly upset about the valencia thing because Torch introduced them to me and it was just perfect for winter. I'm still upset, that tang was awesome.

  8. Lorelei says:

    [oh nostalgia] I still long for Frusen Glädjé ice cream. That stuff was AWESOME. Haagen Daz doesn't even come close to my nostalgic memory of that creamy goodness.

  9. Kevin says:

    I love this ha..When I was little, I would drink on of the big cans of Donald Duck EVERYDAY. My mom would buy it by the case for me — I guess she figured it was better than soda or sugar/sport drinks. Thanks for the smile 😉

  10. Eloise says:

    What? No more Orange Mocha Frappuccinos? Derek Zoolander will be very upset to hear this.

  11. devonrex says:

    What about the popsicles? They don't have two sticks anymore?

  12. Kirk says:

    Nope, devonrex, the Popsicle no longer looks like this. It now looks like this. Nowhere near as much fun.

  13. Kiss Me Cate says:

    I recently ate, and nearly choked on a double sticked popsicle!!

  14. devonrex says:

    well…that is not good news. i dont even want to know what happened to gobstoppers. or lik-a-maids.

  15. devonrex says:

    Dangers of choking on a double-sticked popsicle: they are real, folks, and you should be wary. Best treat ever, Cate, if you can manage the logistics.

  16. Kirk says:

    REALLY!!!? Was it an actual Popsicle-brand popsicle? I've seen knock-offs with two sticks, but the originals are these lame one-sticked, phallic things.

  17. Kiss Me Cate says:

    I think it was some lame off brand with orange, yellow and purple flavored popsicles. You know that a popsicle is high quality when it labels it's flavors after a color.
    What happened is…they were frozen really hard and when I went to brake it in half if broke more into one 3/4 section and one 1/4 section. I gave the bigger chunk, which included both sticks to my boyfriend and popped the other peice in my mouth, somehow I ended up swallowing it and couldn't get it out. No one noticed that I was semi-gasping for air and couldn't talk. All I could think was if I move it around down there it will melt, which it did, none too quickly and not without tearing up my throat to such an extent that it hurt for a week. Later my mom asked why I didn't just go drink hot water. That would have been too easy I suppose.

  18. Cady says:

    I loved the popsicle with two sticks. It was some cheap-o knockoff brand, but they were sooo good! Plus, they taught me how to share.

  19. mantid says:

    The unsung travesty of the snack kingdom truly lies with the loss of Pepitos corn chips. Those were the best. Also, remember when BBQ chips were not sweet? Now its all mesquitey cloying nastiness.

  20. Indiana says:

    I can still find Donald Duck orange juice, which is great because thats one of only 2 brands i drink, as for the rest i really miss those also. Now that i think of it, I also miss astro pops, bit o honeys, edible wax soda bottles with some kind of flavored liquid in them, o henry bars, and real pixy stix

  21. bouche says:

    Does anyone (is anyone old enough) to remember the popsicles with the interlocking plastic sticks? the kinda looked like this:O=O=O=OOnly if you had two they locked together? My grandmother used to buy them for my sister and I back in the early to mid-seventies. Yes, I'm in my thirties. :-/

  22. Kirk says:

    mantid, spot on; I can barely stand BBQ potato chips anymore.Robin, thanks for the confirmation that DDOJ is still in existence. Good to know. Wanna ship me some? ;)agentbouche, I do remember those! They came in different colors. I'd forgotten all about them until now.

  23. bouche says:

    Those were awesome and I think one of my faves as a kid because they were a treat and a toy.I see pop rocks here and there, they seem the same…Here are some more crazy junk foods in my head: Like soda, the suMMit bar, purple sweedish fish, and the disaster that was Coke II (though I kinda liked it as a kid because of the mega sugar rush).

  24. Vince says:

    Wow, this post brought back memories of my youth some 30 years ago. Especially the Bottle Caps and DDOJ. I remember trading away other flavors just so I could get more Root Beer ones. I lived on that stuff (which probably explains the cavities later.)

  25. Kirk says:

    Thanks, everyone, for adding to the list! If you'd like to partake of even more retro-reminiscing, complete with pictures, be sure to check the UPDATE to this blog post!

  26. Cedarwaxwing says:

    Great post. I loved your description of the original pop rocks mixed with coke: "like a tiny civilization was having the Fourth of July inside your mouth"

  27. stubbie23 says:

    Freakies is hands-down the main reason my mother wouldn't let me eat surgar coated cereals. Dentist visit before Freakies: 0 cavities. Dentist visit after Freakies: 6 cavities. I think the cereal companies give a kick-back to dentists.

  28. Bookmole says:

    The Post, the Comments – all good. I loved coconut chewing tobacco and Wagon Wheels – the chewing tobacco got ditched, I assume, cos of the anti-tobacco lobby and Wagon Wheels definately shrank and got yukky sweet (though the yukky sweet this probably is a taste change from child to adult)

  29. Kiss Me Cate says:

    Bit-o-honey is still around. I just had one a couple months ago, and it was delicious!! I rememeber my dad buying them for me when I was little. It makes me want one right now!!

  30. kate says:

    No more Mocha Valencia? Horrors!! Mocha Valencia has the distinction of being the drink I ordered the first time I ever went to Starbucks (many years ago)… it has such a great flavor combination. Although I usually drink "straight up" lattes, it has always remained my favorite drink and I always keep Starbucks Valencia syrup at home, too. Anyway, I'm glad for the warning… I'll go stock up on Valencia syrup asap. :-\

  31. Lauri says:

    Wheeeee, this has been fun to read! :)I remember Quisp!And as for Gobstoppers and Lik M Aid, we still have those around here. I was having anxiety attacks that someday Tang would get discontinued. It's still pretty much available, but it just sits there in it's tiny section of the shelves and is about overwhelmed by all the other crap that has come out since.I still drink Tang! 🙂

  32. crankypants says:

    does anyone remember Wise potato chips that were star shaped? i swear I remember them from childhood. i think they had holes in em.

  33. Lauri says:

    I had never heard of Donald Duck OJ, or Wise potato chips, either, Crank.

  34. Amanda says:

    Pop Rocks…I used to love those. I've always wondered if they took the pop out of them because of those urban legends floating around.
    Real Pixie Stix…whatever happened to those?
    Does anybody remember Clear Pepsi? Nasty stuff…but I loved it when I was a kid!

  35. Lauri says:

    Oh whoa, Pixie Stix were awesome! Which reminds me of Boyer Smoothies, I Loved those things. And Slowpokes (the candy sucker, that is) and Giant Sweetarts! Yay for bleeding tongues!

  36. Dancing Bear says:

    If you eat Pixie Stix the wrong way you gag because the dust goes down your windpipe. Jeezus Kirk, quite a response! A Good Thing! I love nostalgia and foods are more fun than anything. There was a show in LA called "Things that aren't Here Anymore" and it showed places that don't exist. any longer. I guess that's where they got the name,lol! Vox On Kirk!

  37. Essy says:

    Yes!! I remember the interlocking sticks! Those were awesome!

  38. Erinen says:

    Pixie Stix are still around. I see them all the time. I loved them!I searched the Popsicle website & they do still make the double popsicle. It's called the Super-Twin: http://www.popsicle.com/products/categories/fun_and_fruity.cfm (scroll down to the bottom)Lately I've had a hankerin' for a Good Humor Chocolate Eclair ice cream bar but I can't find them in any grocery store. 😦

  39. Kirk says:

    …they do still make the double popsicle

  40. cassandra says:

    it's kinda sad, i never knew popsicles had two sticks, till i was like 11 years old…..my mom would never let us get into them and she always broke them in two to serve them to us. we only ever got the noname brand too, so there was no picture on the box. when i finally grew up and moved out i went to buy my own and went to get the popsicle brand and was sad to see they just had the one stick. i miss the bottle caps too.

  41. bouche says:

    Yes… Clear pepsi! I was about 19 and I actually liked it a lot. Everyone thought I was nuts and I think I might've been. I do think my tastes have changed, I've traded sugary sodas for diet — though I still occasionally enjoy a regular coke once in a while. In a decade, people will be reminiscing over clear Pepsi's kid brother, Pepsi Blue — now that was a screwed up drink!I still wish they had those sticks… I'd so be a Popsicle addict! How about how prizes came with temporary tattoos, and how mimeograph (pre-xerox carbon paper) paper smelled at school? Ahh… Cancertastic!

  42. That was outstanding. I always sit with friends and we talk about the days when lunchables didn't have juice, or all these cool snacks, it was just crackers, cheese and turkey.

    As for the part where you said that when you asked about donald duck oj and they looked at you funny, the same thing pretty much happened when my mom and I went to KFC. We asked for tender ROAST chicken and the woman's eyes expanded to the size of pizzas and her mouth dropped and she said "TENDER ROAST!?" like we just called her the worst name in the book.

    Good job. I liked this. =]

  43. Lin says:

    Mmmmmmm, Valencia Mochas. That's very sad. Of course, now that I'm jobless and performing much better in the stay-at-home-mom gig than I ever did in the military*, we haven't had the money to go to Starbucks. That's very sad. It'll disappear and I'll never have gotten one last taste of it.I love Donald Duck OJ! So far as I know, I've only been able to find it in the grocery stores back home (PA), specifically those around my Grandmother's home: you know, the Mom & Pop types situated just on the property line and a little off the highway from their dairy farm. It is also only at these sort of stores that I can find real, true, honest-to-God penny candy. God, I miss those stores. I'd get five dollars every Friday for my allowance when I was younger (gradual increase as I got older, but then I thought myself too cool to rush to the candy store) and was able to buy enough candy to last me at least two days. Hehehe.*Don't get me wrong, I did well in the military, too. Honorable discharge. Didn't care for it much, though.

  44. Kirk says:

    I don't recall 7-Up gum, Ceji, but I do remember a squirting gum called Freshen Up. It's still available.

  45. Lin says:

    Oooh! Yes! I just went over there [to the Commissary] today (I'm still a military dependent, haha!), and lo and behold, there it was, Donald Duck OJ with the light from Heaven shining down upon it. Naturally, because I have a growing young girl I acquired six of the little buggers and am happily sipping on some! 😀

  46. Kirk says:

    Oh, sure. Rub it in, whydoncha? 😉

  47. Indiana says:

    Kirk Starr: I cant ship ya any but I can tell you where i found it, and if you have them around where you live, then you might get lucky. Krogers grocery stores usually carries it, at least in Indiana and in Tennessee, I cant vouch for anywhere else.
    Cate: I use to see bit o honeys when i lived in TN but since moving to IN I havent been able to find them. 😦

  48. Kirk says:

    I was only kidding, Robin. It's frozen afterall; be quite a mess by the time it got here (or expensive as hell to ship). Research and comments indicate that it's still available in select southern and east-coast states. I shall taste it again one day!

  49. Indiana says:

    I would hope you were kidding, but lets talk about this frozen? Umm. Ive never saw it frozen, didnt even realize it came frozen. When i buy it comes in a 64oz juice can in the juice isle of the market, thats the way ive seen it since as far back as kindergarten. You find out something new every day.

  50. Kirk says:

    I remember it two ways: half-gallon cartons and frozen cans (which looked exactly like the example in my photo composite). Much of my family lives in WV and OH, so acquiring some DDOJ isn't completely impossible, just logistically complicated. Where there's a will there's a way, though.

  51. VaShopaholic says:

    i definately agree…so many things have changed..

  52. Christy says:

    DOO DADS Nabisco Snack Mix! OMG, I would pay a lot of money for some right now.I remember 7-Up gum and I definitely remember when mass-produced potato chips came in a non-gross, non-mesquite barbecue flavor. I find that the more "natural" brands these days have a more spicy bbq flavor. I usually go with Dirty. More expensive, but KC Masterpiece is SO icky.

  53. Marcela says:

    I know I'm a few days late commenting, but I have to share your dismay at the discontinuance of the Valencia syrup! I don't ever get any in mochas like you, but I love black tea lemonades with valencia instead of the classic syrup, and that will just not taste the same whatsoever without my orange. I am not happy.And! About the Donald Duck OJ – I lived in San Diego, and earlier this year, I distinctly remember being at a Food4Less and seeing the Donald Duck OJ and thinking, "???????" – so, it's in San Diego!

  54. You can still get Quisp? That was the bestest cereal ever! Far superior to Cap'n Crunch. Now if i could find some Zots and wash them down with Fizzies I would be a happy camper.

  55. anna says:

    I purchased some Donald Duck orange juice today; it was the first time I had seen it in years. No more sexist comic strips on the back, alas.

  56. OMG! Zotz with a "Z"! I'm such an idiot. I Googled "Zotz" and– BAM!
    I can almost feel my mouth foaming up already.

    Zotz

  57. Peggy says:

    http://www.oldtimecandy.com/zotz.htm this is where i get my nostalgia candy from!!! I live here! Chick 'o Sticks yum

  58. Peggy says:

    http://www.oldtimecandy.com/zotz.htm this is where i get my nostalgia candy from!!! I live here! Chick 'o Sticks yum

  59. Peggy says:

    Any one remember the 7up bar with 7 different candies in one bar?

  60. Kirk says:

    "Any one remember the 7up bar with 7 different candies in one bar?" Would you be referring to this? I vaguely recall this candy bar when I was a kid, though I don't know that I ever ate one.

  61. Peggy says:

    Candy's of the 60's you can still buy!!!!100
    Grand Bar, 5th Avenue, Anise Squares, Astro Pops, Atomic Fire Balls,
    Bazooka Bubble Gum, BB Bats, Bit-O-Honey, Black Taffy, Boston Baked
    Beans, Bubble Gum Cigars, Butterfingers, Candy Buttons, Candy
    Cigarettes, Candy Necklace, Carmel Creams, Charleston Chews, Charms,
    Chick-o-Sticks, Chiclets, Chuckles, Cinnamon Bears, Dots, French Chew
    Taffy, Gold Mine Gum, Good & Plenty, Hot Dog Gum, Indian Brand
    Pumpkin Seeds, Jaw Breakers, Jelly Nougats, Jujubes, Jujyfruits, Junior
    Mints, Kits, Lemonheads, Life Savers, Long Boys, Mary Janes, Necco
    Wafers, Nik-L-Nips, Now & Later, Pay Day, Peanut Butter Bars,
    Planter's Peanut Bar, Rainblo Gum, Red Hots, Red Vines, Root Beer
    Barrels, Saf-T-Pops, Sen Sen, Sixlets, Sky Bar, Slap Stix, Slo Pokes,
    Smarties, Smith Brothers Cough Drops, Sourballs, Sugar Baby, Sugar
    Daddy, Swedish Fish, Sweet & Sour Pops, Sweetarts, Teaberry Gum,
    Tootsie Pops, Tootsie Rolls, Vanilla Caramels, Walnettos, Wax Lips,
    Whoppers and Zagnut.

  62. Mary says:

    Target is now selling “Quisp” cereal.. Hubby and I just saw it in the store last week! We grew up on all this stuff too. I was just searching for why they stopped the 2 stick popsicle.. Nothing will bring us back to our childhood Im afraid.. Shame 😥

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