Monday, January 27, 2014

From the Beverage Aisle: PDQ

Product: PDQ
Company: Ovaltine
Years: 60's-80's

For the record, there is absolutely nothing wrong with regular ol' white milk. It's good, and good for you, but there are a bunch of companies out there that just want to spice up your milk drinking experience. Some are still around (such as Nestle Quik and Hershey's syrup), and some are but a memory (Milk Mate and Pinch N' Sip), so I was surprised when an internet friend of mine was selling something I didn't know anything about: PDQ.

Photo by Grickly
PDQ was created by Ovaltine in the mid to late 60s. It wasn't a powder like many of the other similar products, but instead was more of a small pebble/chip of the flavoring that would dissolve in milk. It came in Chocolate, Strawberry, and the seasonal Egg Nog. I wish that last line was a typo, but it wasn't. They actually made Egg Nog Milk flavoring.

Part of the appeal of this product is that you could also use it as a topping on ice cream ("Who want's some Egg Nog Flavored Ice Cream!!!" said the worst parents ever.)
Something else you might remember of these bottles was that they would often have a collectable label or lid, such as Endangered Species/Cars/and Marvel Superheros in the early 80s.
Like many of the items I blog about, I'm surprised this one somehow made it past my kid "unhealthy food" radar. Nestle Quik was always in my house growing up, so I'm guessing it was just never brought to my attention. It sort of looks like a jar of coffee grounds to me. Maybe that's why I didn't care.

Plus, as a side note, I'm surprised they used the abbreviation P.D.Q., since that stands for "Pretty Damn Quick". I guess you could argue that it stands for "Pretty Darn Quick", but you would be wrong. And I guess it's better then the first name they pitched, "PMFGDQ".

You figure it out.

Photo by Grickly

Monday, January 13, 2014

From the Endangered Groceries List - Chocolate Chip Soda

Alert reader Apollo A. send us a unique item to add to out Endangered Groceries list today, and boy, is it a doozey. I've seen some horrid sodas in my time, but this one just doesn't seem right.

Today we bring you Presidents Choice Chocolate Chip Soda.

Created for the 25th anniversary of their Decadent Chocolate brand, Presidents Choice decided to come out with an assortment of items, such as pancake mix, cake mix, and for some weird reason, soda. It was meant to be enjoyed "straight up", or as part of an alcoholic drink. But if you ask me, I'd need a few drinks of alcohol before I'd think about putting this stuff in my mouth. There's a reason the market isn't flooded with chocolate flavored sodas, and that reason is because it's a terrible, terrible idea.....and I think Presidents Choice is already starting to realize this. Apollo told me that this soda retails for .99 cents, but he is seeing it already marked down to .33 cents a liter.

The reviews have not been positive either, so it's a good thing that this was a limited release. 
Not sure if this is sold in the US or not, as I believe Presidents Choice may only be a Canadian product, so sadly, I will probably miss out on this one. But if you have the means, I urge you all to go purchase one of these today!
Or wait until tomorrow and hit the dumpster behind the store.

If you are out at the grocery store and spot an unusual item that you have a feeling won't be on shelves long, snap a picture and send it to me at so we can add it to our Endangered Groceries List! 

Come on. Make your mom proud.

Monday, January 6, 2014

From the Misc. Foods Aisle: Generic Brands

Products: Just about Everything
Company: Just about all of them
Years: 1970s-90's

Growing up in the early 80's, our family didn't have a ton of money. We got by and made ends meet where we could by finding ways to maximize every cent we had. This meant several things: We would rent VHS tapes of older movies instead of going to the theatre to see new ones; We would shop for school clothes at Kmart and other "not as cool" clothing stores, and we would often take a stroll down the Generic Foods aisle on every trip to the grocery store to see where we could save a few bucks. Looking back, I remember being embarrassed at those times. While my best friend's parents had their cupboards stocked with Oreos and Ruffles Potato chips, my parents had ours stuffed with "Chocolate Sandwich Cookies" and "Potato Chips" in a package that suggested "Guess what? You're poor!"

Generic Brands are not really gone (technically). We see them all the time on store shelves. You know, those knock off boxes of Mac and Cheese that aren't made by Kraft, and those boxes of Fruity Ring's Cereal that aren't made by General Mills. Generic brands are everywhere still, but not the Generic Brands I remember as a kid. Now you find them on every shelf...colorful packages with cartoons on them and bright graphics, the only really difference is that instead of a major brand name they are made by a smaller, unknown company, often depending on the retailer.  They sit on the shelves right next to their Major Brand competitor, giving you side by side comparison on cost and appearance of the products.
But back in the late 70's and early 80s, the Generic Brands were condemned to their very own aisle, sort of the "Aisle of Misfit Foods", if you will.  In one aisle, you could get your generic cereals, chips, canned goods, snacks, paper name it. There were even generic cigarettes and alcohol (my dad was a big fan of the "Beer").

The typical package design that I remember was black and white, simple (plain) box or can, with the product name used as the descriptor. "Ice Cream", or "Cola", or "Potato Chips". That's what made them so aren't paying for the fancy package, just the product inside. And like many of todays "Store Brand" products, the items inside often (but not always) were pretty close in taste to the Major Brand items they are mimicking.

Every once in a while you still stumble upon true black and white "Generic" items in stores, but not very often anymore. So these items aren't completely gone from the stores. But the days of that leper colony of an aisle known as the Generic Aisle are long gone. The other day I saw boxes of true "Generic" potato chips at Piggly Wiggly near my house, and I teared up a little bit remembering grade school picnics, where you were always certain to see someone taking the chips from the iconic generic boxes and pouring them into a bowl.

I'm an adult now (for the most part), and like lots of other things from my childhood, I can look back now and appreciate it all. I miss those trips to the store with mom, even the dreaded Generic Aisle.
It's funny how little things like a black and white box can make you both long for the days of your childhood and still appreciate what you have today.

Generic items are not gone, but as the once dominant "Generic Brand" they were, I think it's safe to say that they are extinct. Sometimes they sneak in with the more popular "Store Brands"....should  you can be so lucky to see them in the wild. If you see any, snap a picture and send them my way! I'd love to see them! I'm curious what's still out there.