Foods that just don't taste like you remember them

This is kind of an offshoot of the Arby’s thread. In my life, there have been a number of foods that I remember loving as a kid, but whose current incarnation just doesn’t do it for me. I’m thinking mostly of fast foods in the framing of this question, but I don’t necessarily want to limit it to that. I don’t particularly care if the difference is a change in your tastes or a change in the actual product. But what don’t you enjoy now that you may have enjoyed a decade or two or more ago?

For me, I remember loving these three:

  1. Mr. Submarine. Every so often, my dad would come from work and stop by the Mr. Sub’s down the street and bring home one of their Italian style subs. I remember loving those. Good bread, nice and oniony with peppery Italian meats and all that. I’ve gone back several times in the last decade, and every single time, at various locations, I have gotten bread that is so gummy/dense that it actually made my jaw sore from chewing it. The only way I could eat it was by throwing it in a microwave.

  2. Wendy’s. The Big Classic was a favorite of mine. Their burgers always tasted fresher and more “real” to me than McDonald’s and Burger King. But the last few years I’ve been there, despite the fresh meat ads and all that, I’ve gotten what to me is a sad, bland product. I still like it better than Burger King, but I prefer McDonald’s of the Big Three.

  3. Arby’s. Loved it as a kid, and I remember being entranced by those big, beautiful Arby’s neon signs. These days it tastes like reheated Oscar Meyer deli meat to me. Even in the 90s, when I was a ravenously hungry teenager and lived literally less than 100 yards from one, I almost never went there. And if I did, it was the chicken cordon bleu I liked.

A couple summers back we went up to the lake and it was kinda late so we weren’t gonna go get groceries until the next day. Well, that’s great, but I was hungry, so I went looking for some food. The cupboards were nearly bare, as were the fridge and freezer, but I did find a can of spaghetti-o’s.

Now, I’ve never been a fan of pasta, or spaghetti in particular, but I ate s-o’s fairly regularly as a kid and liked them, so I thought great, here we go.

I could barely even eat the stuff it tasted so awful, either they changed the recipe in the last 25 years since I’d had them, the can had gone bad (hadn’t expired tho), or my tastebuds as a child were damned dirty liars.

Sometimes things change, but just as often it is we who change.

Most kids like sweet food. I used to love Hostess Creme-Filled Cupcakes when I was a kid. When I tried one as an adult I hated it. It was over-the-top sweet, with little other flavor.

Spaghetti-Os are sweet. They put a lot of corn syrup in the sauce to appeal to kids, but most adults don’t like sugary pasta.

Cracklin’ Oat Bran. When nutrition labeling laws were passed around 1990 they changed their recipe and it just isn’t the same since. It used to be ambrosia, oh my, the best-tasting thing I could imagine. Not anymore.

For my main contribution, I will focus on a relatively recent deterioration in quality in Healthy Choice Lemon Pepper Fish which I have quit buying some time ago. I used to have it two or three times a week and it made for a quick and easy heat-'em-up evening meal to watch TV by. But over time, the fish piece became smaller, the broccoli went from being fresh (as frozen stuff goes) and easy to chew, to something resembling wood chips.

Not only did I decide to drop that paricular item, I quit buying Healthy Choice brand at all.

For a side item that’s quit tasting like I remember it, I’ll select Payday candy bars. I still get them and still like them a little but nowhere near as much as when I was a kid. The last few batches I have bought have been stale and with fewer peanuts, while the price keeps going up.

Jenos Pizza Rolls. They used to actually have something in them. Whatever it was, it was something. Now it’s just sauce.

Yeah, I remember Spaghetti-Os being sickly sweet back then, and last I had them (which, who knows, maybe 10 years ago I tried some), they were still as I remember them. I just remember all the Franco American and Chef-Boy-Ar-Dee products having a weird sweetness to them that didn’t quite taste like tomatoes.

Oh, I remember that. Used to love it, too. Didn’t realize they still made it. What was it they changed because of the labeling laws?

That reminds me of Corn Bran cereal. I loved it! I’m sure I haven’t seen it in years. And I loved Cracklin Oat Bran too.

I used to love canned spaghetti, which tasted exactly like spaghetti-o’s. I loaded them up tons of oregano and Parmesan cheese. I can’t bring myself to try it again, if they still even make it.

Corn Bran is still around where I am. (Central Valley, Ca.)

ETA: Amazon

I was feeling a bit nostalgic the other day and picked up a jar of Ragu.

Holy crap! That stuff was so loaded with sugar I had to douse it with some harissa paste to offset the sweetness.

Yeah, Spaghetti-O’s are total crap, but my kids still go nuts for them. I loved 'em as a kid, too.

Mac 'N Cheese is also different or I remember it incorrectly. Only Aldi brand is any good anymore.

Apples. Crisp & juicy red apples.
I can only find non-crisp, too-sweet, floury red apples :frowning:

I miss the combo of crisp & juicy so much I’m contemplating hunting down heirloom seeds and growing my own

That surprises me. I looked up apple varieties on Wikipedia and found that the Cripps Pink (AKA Pink Lady) originated in Australia. So did the Granny Smith. While neither variety is red, both are crisp and juicy.

Of course, apples are out of season right now in Australia, so any you find in the stores now will have been in storage for several months.

Hamburger and Tuna Helper has been reformulated in recent years (and not for the better, either) and so have Campbell’s cream soups. UGH!

Yep we have those varieties. They just aren’t the level of crisp and juicy I remember from my childhood. They have less flavour, are sweeter, and are more floury than I recall. They are a shadow of their former crispy heaven.

I was specifically talking about the Red Delicious variety, but Granny Smith’s are no longer as crisp as I recall either.

Maybe my memory is faulty. But then, I hear so much about long-term cold storage of fruit for consistent supplies year-round. Then again, I tried some apples from a farmers market recently and remain disappointed. Maybe my memory is the faulty object here, not the apples
But dammit - I want a crisp, juicy, slightly tart apple!

Get them in season. That’s the key.

Fuji or Braeburn.
Red Delicious have been crap for many years.

When I was like 6 or 7 [del]Hormel[/del] Underwood Deviled Ham was something I would beg my mom for on every trip to the grocery store.
I bought some recently and, well, perhaps some happy memories should remain memories.

Oh, so many. So many.

I think it’s a combination of simply growing up (thus, the “kid’s foods” lose their appeal) and the fact that my wife and I (thanks to my wife taking on cooking as a hobby) are making a point of eating fresh food and meals made with quality ingredients.

Thus, pretty much anything that could conceivably be labelled as “junk food” just doesn’t taste good anymore. Everything from Doritos to Twinkies to frozen food to fast food, just doesn’t taste like food anymore.

I used to love Cool Hwip - it tastes like plastic now. I used to love Captain Crunch - it takes like sugary sawdust now. I used to love McD’s Quarter Pounders - they taste like cardboard with pepper now.

It’s quicker and easier to name the junk food that I still enjoy: “microbrew” sodas, with real sugar and natural flavorings, authentic Chicago style sandwiches (hot dogs, Italian beef/sausages), Five Guys’ burgers and fries, and Chicago style pizza from (only) Chicago restaurants. And that’s pretty much it.

Speaking of apples - my mom would buy the cheapest apples possible, and I carried on that tradition for a while, so it wasn’t until my wife and I went on this good food kick that I ever even ate an apple that tasted sweet, juicy, and had a texture that didn’t remind one of sawdust.

Good food is so wonderful and delicious and so far beyond the crap that is readily available - sure, it costs us up to an extra 50% (but saves us at least that much as we don’t buy prepared stuff), and takes a bit of effort - that I goggle when I think of the crap that I used to eat.