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Remember This?: Old McDonald’s Apple Pies

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I dreamed last night that I went to Taco Bell for a caramel apple empanada. When I got there, they were revising their menu and most of it was covered over in pieces of cardboard. My delicious, sweet, fried empanada was no longer there.

It made me sad. The dream was very realistic because usually my favorite foods get discontinued. Does anyone else remember Kraft having frozen meals? I was particularly fond of the ravioli filled with mozzarella. There is a great family (meaning just my mom and I) story about me turning around quickly in the kitchen and all the ravioli and tomato sauce slopping off the plate with the centrifugal force my body created. Man, what I wouldn’t give for that plateful of cheesy, tomatoey gooey goodness one last time.

At McDonald’s? Chicken nuggets have stood the test of time, with varying degrees of quality through the decades. A Big Mac, supposedly their signature sandwich? I could care less. I only ate them when I had a year’s worth for free. Even then, I had to order it without the special sauce. But their apple pies? Oh, how I loved those. And no, not the BAKED doughy version they have now, filled with apples slices that are too large and topped with a pile of cinnamon. I love cinnamon, I truly do, but I don’t want it all piled in one spot on top.

Oh God, I would give my pinky toe nail for one of those right about now.

Oh God, I would give my pinky toe nail for one of those right about now.

No, I loved the McDonald’s apple pies of my youth. I believe they went by the wayside in the early 1990s. They were fried, because the outer shell was all golden and crispy. The texture was all these tiny little air bubble bumps along the outside. When you bit into it, it crunched with deep-fried deliciousness. Usually you also burned your lip on the steam, if not on some of the extra-sweetened apple goo that would get stuck to your lip that would continue to scald until you could manage to lick it off and burn your tongue in the process.

Such uniform, processed steaming-hot perfection!

Such uniform, processed steaming-hot perfection!

Inside were diced apples, all uniformly sized in their heavily processed form. It was the definition of DESSERT, as much as you can have without chocolate anyway. It wasn’t a half-assed attempt to make your dessert healthy, with the baked and the less sugar nonsense.

The caramel apple empanada dream upset me so because that is the closest thing I have found that I can still get that reminds me of the old McDonald’s apple pies.

I am apparently not the only one still pining for this fruity delight. There are recipes all over the Internet trying to duplicate the taste and consistency of the original: you can find one here. I am afriad of hot grease, so my attempting it seems highly unlikely. There are still infrequent fried apple pie sightings across the United States, but they seem to be harder to find than a needle in a haystack.

Holy crap! Look at what they serve in Japan. I would totally try that.

Holy crap! Look at what they serve in Japan. I would totally try that.

Now go on about your day. Just try not to think about the crunchy, gooey deliciousness that you can no longer have. Because you can’t. It’s gone. It has gone by the wayside, just like MicroMagic cheeseburgers and old Wendy’s French fries.

Now you can’t stop thinking about them, can you? Your mouth is watering. It would be a great trifecta of garbage food filling up your stomach. Excuse me, I need to take off now and, um, drive thru, I mean drive to the store. Yes, yes….that’s what I meant…

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
Be Careful What You Wish ForAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It THE CONTINUING ROMANCE!
The Wind Could Blow a BugWHERE IT ALL BEGAN!

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Remember This?: Charms

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Me wearing my charms at my favorite lighthouse

Me wearing my charms at my favorite lighthouse

This post will only be appealing to Gen X girls. And actually I was only at the very tail end of Gen X, so am not even sure how accurate that assessment is.

When I was in elementary school, it seemed like there was a new fad every week. I didn’t always understand them at such a young age, but I tried to keep up anyway. I’m sure I mostly failed.

I remember in first grade people had something called “friendship pins.” They seemed to consist of beads on safety pins that you hooked on your shoe laces. I think this was just before the majority of shoes switched over to velcro closure in the mid-1980s. I still have some of the beads I got from them, although I can’t imagine who claimed to be my friend at that time.

I also remember stickers. It seemed as though they lasted longer; long enough for me to fill up five books full. (My favorite was always the scratch’n’sniff cinnamon roll. Yum.) Our local mall had a little store that  sold only stickers–rolls and rolls of stickers hanging off the walls.

Garbage Pail Kids sharing a box with charms and New Kids on the Block cards

Garbage Pail Kids sharing a box with charms and New Kids on the Block cards

I remember Garbage Pail Kids. I participated, but didn’t like them as well. They were harder to get because I only knew one place to buy them and my mom had to make a special trip there so that I could purchase them. And they were more expensive than regular stickers. I had some cards from series 1-4, having the most for series 2, but never a complete set. I had a mother who convinced me that I never needed a complete set of any toy–it was her way of not having to buy me so much stuff. (Pretty genius on her part, actually. Doesn’t seem to work as well on my own child.)

There were friendship bracelets and jelly bracelets. But I think my most favorite fad was charms.

Vintage 1980s charm necklaces

Vintage 1980s charm necklaces

They were these little colored pieces of plastic, shaped into everything you could imagine, that hooked onto a necklace. It was very popular to trade them. I don’t think I traded much, because I liked the ones I had and didn’t want to part with them.

The chains were plastic too, and came in small links and large links and every color of rainbow, sometime on the same chain. Once again, it seemed like stores at the mall were the best place to purchase charms; whatever was the equivalent to Claire’s at that time. Charms came in the shape of radios, headphones (non-functioning, of course), roller skates (this was pre-roller blades), and shoes. I had one of the iconic Coca-Cola bottle. Rumor was that it contained real Coke (for sure it contained a brown-colored liquid). I felt fortunate to have some that were thought to be hard-to-find, such as a toilet, with opening lid and seat, a baby bottle, and a clear bottle with colored pills in it. Ya, seeing as kids were buying these, I never thought the pill bottle was age appropriate. Or the bottle with the Old Grand-Dad whiskey label. But they were fun to possess anyway.

Close-up of my awesome charms

Close-up of my awesome charms

I still have my charms. I have hauled them from my childhood home to my first apartment to my first home. I keep my charms in a shoebox. I know they are silly junk I should have sent to the landfill decades ago. But they are all so pretty and colorful. Some have little bells on them that jingle when you lift them out of the box.

And it is a good thing I still have them so that I can provide pictures for this post.

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
Be Careful What You Wish ForAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It CLICK HERE TO WIN!
The Wind Could Blow a BugWHERE IT ALL BEGAN!

Remember This? Wes Nile

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The only known photograph of the band Wes Nile, 2003

The only known surviving photograph of the band Wes Nile, 2003

In January 2003, Wes Nile was the next big up and coming band. Everyone was talking about them. They made all the music industry magazines lists of “Up and Coming Bands to Watch” and “The Big Albums of 2003”.

Simon Cowell called them “Dreadful.”

Critics criticized Wes Nile for playing into the West Nile virus scare, which was at the height of its hysteria. Founder Wes Nile debunked critics by publicly showing his birth certificate, displaying his birth name as Westley P. Nile.  Of course, he had it tattooed onto his butt when he revealed it at the international press conference.

Other members of the band were Eas Nile and Dee Nile. Other members C. Nile and P. Nile rotated in and out of the band, depending on who was feuding with who.

In June, their debut album was supposed to be released, but got postponed until September. They were scheduled to appear on Saturday Night Live that week as the musical guest. Wes Nile assured NBC that they would do the show anyway, but failed to show up on Saturday night. To fill the air time, the SNL cast members sang “1000 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.”

Lorne Michaels was furious and promptly banned Wes Nile from any future appearances.  This helped to fuel their popularity.

Similar absenteeism happened when they were due to appear on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Late Show with David Letterman.

In the meantime, their songs “Punk Rock Pollock” & “Hop Shamock-a-Lok” became chart-topping hits, despite being only the sounds of screaming and crows.

Sadly, it is unclear which charts those were, as a freak fire at the Billboard offices destroyed all records for only the year 2003.

Wes Nile was announced as the headliners of First Annual Michigan Mosquito Festival. It was supposed to be the first step to make a mends with their fans who were quickly becoming disillusioned by their reputation as no-shows. It would also serve as the first stop on their universal concert tour, due to culminate with the first concert on the moon, although there is no record of NASA ever condoning such an en devour.

Years later, Richard Branson claimed in his best-selling biography “Story of a Rich British Guy Who Likes the Color Red” that he was in secret talks with them to “make the magic happen.”

Festival organizers reported that Wes Nile did in fact show up to perform. Unfortunately, unforseen circumstances prevented them from taking the stage. The festival was cancelled because their fans had used too much bug spray and the fire Marshal ruled that, with the stage pyrotechnics, there was too much of a fire hazard.

No future Michigan Mosquito Festivals were ever held.

Their debut album was yet again postponed by the record label. This time, indefinitely. The name of the album, “Bite Me”, and the group photo of the band above had already been released. With the album in limbo, the universal tour was canceled.

Not much remains of the Wes Nile legacy. All their most hard-core fans had significant brain damage from the bug repellent at the Mosquito Festival, causing severe memory loss.

In 2005, Westley P. Nile ordered all this fans to send in their CD singles of the band’s only two hits. He no longer felt they were the bands best work, and didn’t want them out polluting the world. Fans resisted, so he offered to send each fan a $100 check upon receipt. The next day post offices had lines around the block of people sending back CDs.

Westley never made good on his promise to pay up.

He later hacked all the computers of fans who had digital files of his music. Westley was put on trial, but was found to be criminally insane, due to the fact that he believed himself to be a robot.  He claimed he had plugged a part of his anatomy into his computer to upload and download the files.  This was never proven or dis proven in court.

Eas Nile became a best-selling author, specializing in alien erotica. Unfortunately, her success allowed her to over-indulge in her love of cheese. She tried to build a house made out of cheese, but was almost killed by The Plague when mice over-ran the place.

Dee Nile married P. Nile, but they soon divorced when he could not remain faithful.  Dee became an author, writing about cheese-related tragedies. Her books were not successful, due to the premise being too unbelievable. Instead, she started a successful blog which featured a new pizza recipe daily. She tours college campuses regularly.

C. Nile became a glamorous and edgy pop star in Czechoslovakia under the stage name “Cadonna”. Due to strict embargo rules, her music is not available here and cannot be posted on YouTube.

P. Nile has since fathered ten children by ten different women. In order to pay his child support, he has become one of the leading pimps of Albuquerque.

Rumors swirl occasionally on Myspace of a reunion, but that seems doubtful while Westley is still in the asylum.

Wes Nile touched so many people, for such a brief period of time. Every now and then, I will see a faded, worn “Bite Me” bumper sticker on the back of a car, and a tear comes to my eye, for what might have been…

Feel free to share your own memories of Wes Nile in the comments below.

Casey Kasem (1932-2014)

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CASEY KASEM-shaggy meme

Remember This?: Pre-Made S’mores

S’mores.

Good idea, bad execution.

Marshmallow – Good.

Chocolate – VERY Good.

Graham Cracker – Eh.

S'more

S’more

The traditional location to eat S’mores is camping.

Are you f’ing kidding me?

Why would you want to try to devour something ooey-gooey-chocolately delicious when you have a residue of dirt and mosquito repellent on your hands? And after you eat the S’more, you have a thick, sticky residue of marshmallow on your hands. Hand sanitizer or a cup of water isn’t going to rinse that sh*t off. I feel like camping foods should be easily clean-up-able. Hmmm. Maybe this is why my mother has never been a camper. (She likes things clean.  To the point of rubbing my son’s butt off after a poopy diaper change. OY.)

I don’t even think I had ever consumed a S’more until Nabisco came out with pre-made, microwavable S’mores in the 1990’s, called Suddenly S’mores. If you are trying to jog your memory, they came in a red package.

They were great!

No campfire required! (Just a microwave.)

No assembly required!

You can make them anytime!

They were the perfect proportion of chocolate to marshmallow to sweetened cookie graham cracker. Except for the occasional marshmallow burn on my finger, they were great! Except they came in inner packs of 2, and you had to make 4 at a time to really get all the yummy deliciousness that you craved.

A great after-school snack.

Bedtime snack.

Saturday morning breakfast.

Lunch.

Dessert.

Lunch Dessert.

If they still made them and stocked them in a store near me, I would still be buying them today.

But, alas, the closest thing I can find nowadays is the S’mores bar from Cabelas. It has a chocolate covered marshmallow sandwiched between the graham cracker. You have to be careful when you microwave it because if you leave it in too long the marshmallow will get huge and the top will slide off the bottom. They are kind of expensive. And have to be purchased at a Cabela’s store.

Another alternative, if you have a gas stove, is to toast the marshmallows that way.

But I still miss the microwave variety 😦

Does anyone else remember these?

Watch the commercial I found on YouTube.

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