Wotsits

You only get a woosh with a Wotsit as the advert used to say. Cheesy Wotsits as many people still say. You know these cheesy corn Puff snacks, everyone does but they’re still a memory from my childhood and given that is what this site is all about then that is what I am going to write about.

Don’t judge my childhood food choices as children aren’t known for their culinary prowess at the best of times. Cheesy Wotsits were my go to snack and still remain a guilty pleasure comfort food for me.

Only the cheese flavour would do for me.

As every older person ever always says when reminiscing about snack favourites from the past… they aren’t as big as they used to be. In part this is certainly true – packet sizes of all snacks have been shrinking down, in part because we seem to be more aware of the health disadvantages. Never did me any harm… OK I admit I have reached grumpy old man status.

I’m fairly certain they were bigger puffs of corn when I was younger and much less curly but ever since Walkers bought them from their once dominant rivals Golden Wonder, they have essentially become Cheetos smaller and C shaped.

The recently released Giant variety are much more like the Wotsits I remember from my childhood. There has also been new flavours released recently which is a trend amongst all snacks lately.

Yes I owned a Wotsits mouse mat!

But for years the only time you could have a flaming hot Wotsit would be in the lead up to Halloween. I miss those days. Now I’ve reached grumpy old man territory I am going to make a Wotsit sandwich and you can judge me on that all you want..

Cereal Freebies

The notion of little gifts in cereal packets predates my existence by decades and by the time I was exiting my childhood such things were becoming a rarity and I’m talking about the little toys and gifts actually in the cereal.

Obviously far from amazing but as a kid finding the freebie in your Coco-Pops livened your breakfast. Although I know there was plenty I don’t remember many of the items I got and there is a good reason for that…

Most of the gifts were just cheap and cheerful plastic tat. Junk that ended up mixed up with all my other little bits of plastic like happy meal toys.

There are a couple I remember. Firstly the Kellogg’s rooster reflectors. I’ll have you know his name is Cornealious. Bike reflectors were a thing in the 1980s apparently.

Nobody ever admitted to liking Rasin Splitz, nobody ever admitted to liking Telly Addicts either.

I didn’t get a bike until the mid nineties so mine just sat with the other tat until I finally got a bike and yes – attached them to the spokes, like the most out of date child there could be.

The other freebie that sticks in my mind was probably not given away inside boxes but rather by collecting tokens which became the main way to get free gifts as putting plastic toys in cereal became seen as either unsanitary or a choking hazard depending who you ask.

Rasin Splitz were giving away Telly Addicts game cards. They were quiz cards about television based on the Noel Edmonds show of the day.

There were four from memory and I think I had them all. I’m not sure why they came into my possession as I was too young to be able to really play them game, they would have been better being stored with the board games.

There was a junior pack (the red one) I could probably just about stumble around the answers but it was a bit above my head.

It was about ten years later when I rediscovered them hidden amongst some old toys – by now gathering far too much info about old TV programmes that I started to be able to answer them. A few decades on I reckon I’d probably know most of the answers, which is really really sad.

Pop Tarts

I remember Pop-Tarts being the big new thing. A biscuit style base with a sweet filling, chocolate, jam and im pretty certain apple that go in the toaster.

Naturally through pester power I managed to get them added to the shopping list as a treat. They were different and I’m pretty certain always disappointed me.

Purely from memory the biscuit tasted like hot cardboard while the fillings were too sweet and sickly. Oh and extremely hot! Burn your mouth hot.

The cardboard biscuit layer.

I don’t think we often bought them but in my head I always really wanted them all the same. They are still avaliable, tucked away in the corner of the cereal aisle. There is only one or two varieties now.

I’ve not tried them out on my kids and I don’t think I ever will. For me they’re something sugary and burny and while I probably loved the idea of that as a kid I don’t so much now!

Golden Wonder Crisps

What would lunch boxes be like without packets of crisps. Ready Salted, Cheese and Onion or Salt and Vinegar whatever your flavour there was only one brand I remember growing up – Golden Wonder.

Long forgotten now as just an also-brand but Golden Wonder were top of the snack food game in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

I remembr the packets, complete with the transparent window so you could actually see how many crisps you were getting and back then you actually got a decent amount per bag.

There was also the distinct colouring of the flavours. Ready Salted (Plain as it was always known to me) was in purple/dark blue and Cheese and Onion was in green. Walkers decision to use green for Salt and Vinegar was wrong, it was even referenced in a Harry Enfield sketch.

Zig loved his Golden Wonder in the 90s.

Golden Wonder had the bulk of the market, they also owned other market leading products like Wotsits and Wheat Crunchies but eventually these were sold off and Golden Wonder almost entirely disappeared.

Smiths Chipsticks

You either loved these or loaved these. These small corny sticks that looked like chips and a packaging design that didn’t change for decades. I was a fan of the ready salted variety, no longer on the market unlike the other variety Salt and Vinegar.

They were somewhat greasy and totally unhealthy and tasted all the better for it. I was always pleased to see them in my lunchbox at school – kids today would definitely not be allowed these in school!

I have one weird memory from the packaging, at some point Walkers took over Smiths and plaster a huge copyright notice on the back but for some reason the date was not updated for years and still said 1995 and I can recall a friend at school trying to convince me they were out of date.

Sunny Delight

Sunny Delight was a new drink that launched in the late 1990s. Coming in from America it had an advert which was terribly cheesey but work as a call to action for kids to try this new product.

It also had another clever marketing trick, its tagine was ‘The great stuff kids go for!’ which implied that it was a healthy drink, plus it was orange in colour so basically orange juice.

My mum bought some for me to try. There were too varieties the one with orange lid and the one with the yellow lid. I’m not sure what the flavour were now but in my mind the orange was orange juice and the yellow was a citrus-orange juice. I prefered the latter.

It was everywhere in the supermarket sitting next to the chilled juices. It was a fresh product and came in a weird shaped ‘American’ style bottle. What’s not to love.

The two varieties.

I did like the taste but I do remember after having just one glass I would feel a bit queasy if I drank anymore I felt outright sick and that’s no wonder…

Sunny Delight was neither healthy or fresh. It was a mix of sugars, oils and syrups with a bit of natural flavours and it had a thick consistency, in fact although it tasted nice i completely see why it made me feel sick.

Then it started getting bad press as slowly people began to realise they had been dupped into buying it. Personally after the first month of trying it I don’t remember having it again, probably due to the affect it would have on me.

Then came the reports that some children were turning orange due to the amount of the stuff they were consuming, the colouring in the drink having that affect on them. Then it just went away as a huge PR disaster.

Walkers Bring Me Back

Back in 2015 Walkers jumped on the ‘vote-for-a-flavour’ bandwagon. The flavours during the Bring Me Back campaign were all flavours from the past.

I will usually try out limited edition flavours like this, if they intrigue me at least. But the reason this sticks in my mind is that I became totally obsessed with the toasted cheese flavour.

Apparently they were a regular in the 1980s but I i don’t remember them. As for the taste, well yes they tasted of Toasted Cheese, basically a cheese flavour but without that cheesiness you get with with cheese flavour things. And that last sentence shows you why I’m not a food blogger.

Other flavours in the campaign included Lamb&Mint which I think I tried, Barbecue and Cheese & Chive which don’t appeal to me and the eventual winner Been & Onion.

I’d really love to taste them again and see if it was just a fad for me or if they really are as nice as I remember them. I suspect its somewhere between the two.

Milkfloats (and milkmen)

The electric motors in traditional milkfloats have such a recognisable sound. The whiney hum that they would produce, occasionally the rattle of the milk bottles too.

Very much long gone from most of the streets of Britain but when I was you g they were everywhere. The milkman delivered your milk, it was the only way you could get milk.

Our milk was delivered by Express dairies, I know this because I remember the distinct E logo on the glass bottles. Their depot was only around the corner from my home so that milk didn’t really have far to come.

The milk was delivered every morning but I remember the milkman coming around every other week on a Friday afternoon for the payment. I couldn’t work out as a kid why he wouldn’t deliver the milk and collect the payment at the same time.

The idea of having milk delivered daily has almost died out. As someone who works in the early hours of the morning I can confirm there are still milkfloats, but they look like vans and don’t have that distinctive noise, in fact they have almost no noise at all.

A modern day milk float. It looks like a regular van but is earily quiet.

I’m not sure where having milk delivered became the exception rather than the rule, it feels like it happened suddenly without notice, almost overnight but I imagone it happened at the same time we began to accept buying clothes in supermarkets.

Then there is the fact that we now live such face paced 24 hour lives that the notion of waiting for you milk to be delivered, or even a traditional morning routine seems like a quant idea from ‘the olden days’ but I don’t really consider my childhood to qualify as that, not yet at least.

Kellogg’s Toppas

Shredded Wheet but with a frosted topping on top that was always bound to appeal to kids. I loved them and I also didn’t mind their sister product Rasin Splitz either.

Still avaliable if you look in the right shops.

Topas didn’t go away but they did change their name to Frosted Wheats and have been avaliable to this day, although they seem to be becoming more and more scarce which is a shame!

Fiendish Feet

A yoghurt from yesteryear. When you’re a little kid the only thing that really mattered was how cool the yoghurt pots were. Fiendish Feet had legs so won hands down.

You have to hand it to the marketing team at St. Ivel (remember them?), its as though someone came up with getting the youghurt pots legs while someone else came up with spooky faces for the pots themselves and they just put the two together.

Each had their own face which was usually something frankenstien-esque with a suitable scary name to go alongside them and support the idea of them being fiendish.

Spooky Wooky was not really the greatest of names.

They appealed to me as a kid and not just at Halloween, which was never as big a deal then as it is now. They seemed to go away for a bit (or at least I wasn’t consuming them) then came back with little stumpy legs but no feet to really speak of.

It was all about the pots, come to think of it I am not even sure I was that keen on what was in the pot.

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