I’ve never understood the fascination for 80s themes parties. Let’s be honest 80s fashion was HORRID. Huge hair, acid wash jeans, shoulder pads. Why do we want to relive that? When I think back to what we were eating in the 80s I have mixed emotions. Some of it makes my stomach turn now but then I’m not a kid anymore. Kids like ridiculous stuff. How many of these foods did you eat up in the 80s?
Stuff We Ate In The 80s
Cool Ranch Doritos
This was a pivotal moment in food history. It’s the point where ranch went from being a condiment for iceberg lettuce and baby carrots to an actual ingredient. Although Doritos, the brand, has been around for a while, Cool Ranch came on the scene in the mid 80s. And they were an instant hit. Why I’m not sure. They made your fingers gross and your breath stink for a solid 2 days.
Jello’s Pudding Pops came out in the 70s but they were still going strong in the 80s. By this time though lots of people were making them themselves.
I hadn’t even thought about sloppy joes for a solid 20 years until my kid came home from daycare raving about them. But growing up sloppy joes were a staple.
Pizza Pops and Hot Pockets
What kid of the 80s didn’t have Pizza Pops in their freezer? The gooey pizza treat that stunk up the whole house when you nuked it in the microwave. How many times did you burn the roof of our mouth on one? The Hot Pocket was a small step up for the more sophisticated frozen pizza like foodies.
Fruit Roll Ups
These were so horrible. Really, really horrible. Basically Fruit Roll Ups of the 80s were just Kool Aid you could eat. It was just a way for kids to get candy that wasn’t called candy and were stuffed into lunchboxes every day.
I swear I will never eat a bran muffin again. But my mother made bran muffins weekly. Sometimes she would throw raisins in them. Because they weren’t already gross enough. But someone once said bran is healthy so somehow people everywhere ignored the copious amounts of fat and calories that had to be stuffed in the mix to made them even slightly palatable.
One of the biggest healthy food lies of our generation. Mom’s everywhere were replacing ice cream with frozen yogurt. Lots of us couldn’t tell the difference. That should have been the first clue it’s not the least bit healthier than ice cream.
Hunts Snack Pack Pudding
Yes Hunts still makes little pudding cups but kids today will never know the joy of eating their pudding from a tin can. You just can’t lick those flimsy foil lids today the same way.
Big League Chew
It’s not surprising that during an era where “candy cigarettes” were totally acceptable so was shredded bubble gun packaged to resemble chewing tobacco. We kept things classy back then.
Honey Nut Cornflakes
I believe these are still available in places like the UK but they’ve long been gone from Canadian grocery shelves. But they were so good! I’m guessing they weren’t any healthier than Frosted Flakes but honey sounds healthier than frosting so my mother actually bought them on rare occasions.
Clear pop. It was revolutionary. Makes you wonder why Crystal Pepsi never took off. But Clearly Canadian was a HIT back in the 80s and 90s. The pretty blue bottle, the sophisticated line up of flavours. If you didn’t drink it you weren’t cool.
If you were a Canadian kid in the 80s there’s a good chance just the name Pic-a-Pop brings back a lot of memories for you. With headquarters in Manitoba and bottling plants in Saskatchewan and Alberta (I think BC had one too) this was definitely a prairie treat. Pic-a-Pop disappeared for a while but they started bottling again a few years back and if you try hard enough you can find it.
The 7 layered dip and the layered taco dip were present at every party or gathering that involved food in the 80s and 90s. I still see variations of them today.
Remember beefaroni? Or those soft and slimy raviolis? Or how about roller coasters? Oh and don’t forget the Chef Boyardee pizza kits. These were all pantry staples when I was growing up!
French Onion Dip
Another party food staple. It was so easy – some sour cream and a package of onion soup mix. You didn’t serve chips without it.
It was really just cold pasta. But if you call it a salad you can eat twice as much.