If you think people are slovenly, gluttonous and obese now, you were obviously asleep through most of the late 80s and early 90s wave of food products. From the gargantuan Great Biggie size at Wendy’s to the twice-fried (in transfat!) french fries at McDonalds, most Americans were never without a gallon-sized jug of sugary cola and something salty to go with it.
I used to ride my bike to elementary school every day in the fourth and fifth grade and, despite my attraction to troll-shaped Farley fruit snacks, I would save a portion of my lunch money to spend elsewhere after school. A few friends and I would pedal our Schwinns up our towns main street to one of the many eateries littering our small suburban town. My most vivid memory of the after school fatfest was at Wendy’s, where a mystical beast of culinary perfection called the SuperBar was born.
If you’re too young or too fat or too dead to remember, Wendy’s once held far more magic than Frosty’s and baked potatoes. It held a white trash buffet of epic, delicious, and cheap proportions. The SuperBar held a veritable United Nations of cuisines from America’s finest cultures. While much of it was a paint-by-numbers salad bar, no one was really there for that nonsense.
In addition to all that green bullshit, the SuperBar held more intriguing secrets behind it’s dusty sneezeguards. For $2.99 you had access to an assortment of Italian and Mexican delights that engulfed the senses.
There’s always been a sort of brotherhood among lunchrooms spanning the globe. Despite the food fights, the relentless cruelty of teasing, and the eating disorders, elementary school cafeterias were always filled with an overwhelming sense of community. This unity stemmed from the pirate-like bartering system that existed in our 40 minute microcosm of lunchtime–trading snacks.
Whether it was a banana for a pudding pack or a handful of gushers for a fruit roll-up, there was always an endless amount of sharing and exchanging that went on between friends. Everyone remembers the kid whose mother wouldn’t let him have anything unhealthy and his desperate attempts to trade up his fruit cups for something more delectable. Sucks to be that nerd.
One of the hottest commodities on the lunchbox trading scene was the grandaddy of all snack foods in the 90s. This treasure was a product that still graces grocery store shelves with a deliciousness that cannot be denied and mascot who only ups the level of intrigue. I’m talking about the be-all, end-all treat that made normal kids turn into shivering crackheads at the sight of it. I’m talking about DUNK-A-ROOS.
Launched in 1988 by Betty Crocker, this amazing food was pioneered by mad scientists who knew how to please children. Its mascot, the Australian-accented Sydney the kangaroo was just as demonic and lovable as Joe Camel or any of the other kid-centric monsters of marketing. He knew exactly what he was doing when he hopped along the TV screen, enticing kids with his poor Paul Hogan impression.