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What happened to that ???

What foods from years back have you gone to the grocer to find, but had gone missing? Some examples I've had in the ice cream department are butter pecan, butter brickle, and spumoni (the last one is back!). And one time a local store with a great cheese selection had no Muenster, nor had the clerk heard of it. So what do you have to cross off your shopping list? Or what's becoming more rare (find much salsify lately?)?

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  1. Yes, I'm adding to my own list, and reserve the right to continue. Sour cherries! Concord grapes! Whither art they?

    10 Replies
    1. re: Docshiva

      i can only find concord grapes at the korean grocery and my aunt's backyard.

      1. re: soypower

        When I was growing up, the grape choices at the store were Concord and Thompson Seedless. Concord has such a rich flavor, and makes wonderful preserves. Our Food Coop carries them for two or three weeks a year. Maybe they get them from your aunt? I would never have thought to check a Korean grocery, though I find many hard-to-find things at our local Asian supermarkets.

        1. re: Docshiva

          the korean grocery stores usually carry them for several months out of the year. be warned, they are HUGE grapes - almost the size of globe grapes. my aunt's vines produce much smaller ones, both green and purple. actually, are the green ones still called concords or are they muscat then? at any rate, they are awesome so i'm sure she wouldn't share with a coop. =o)

          1. re: soypower

            Those sound like another seeded, slipskin, American grape, of which there are many (muscat or muscadine, for example - both of which are good food finds).

            1. re: Docshiva

              i wikipedia'd concord grapes and found out the green ones arent' actually green. they're just not ripe. but they tasted good anyway.

            2. re: soypower

              I remember being able to get them in the store when I was little, but after my mom got her vines going in the backyard, we never bought them. At their new place they have them again, and when we were down there in August there was a big bowl on the table. They'd eaten enough of them that they were sick of them, so they were real happy to have the three of us come help them.

              I do not remember ever doing anything with Concord grapes other than eat them and spit out the skins. I have a colleague who gathers some kind of wild grapes that grow around here and makes some wonderful juice with them.

            3. re: Docshiva

              It could be a naming issue. When I was a kid my mom (a yank) would scour the grocery store for concord grapes and sometimes she could find them sometimes not. I thought they might be this rare thing until I was in a farmers market (in Ontario) and was pretty much surrounded by them, it's just that they were called black grapes.

          2. re: Docshiva

            Although southeast Florida is not necessarily a mecca (better since Whole Foods & Fresh Market came to town) for buying hard to find items, I have always been able to purchase concord grapes in the Publix stores from early September thru November.

            1. re: Docshiva

              We have both in our backyard. Yay! Unfortunately the past two year's cherry crops have been dismal, at least here in Southern New England. Just as the cherries started blooming, along came two weeks of rain. No sun, no bees, no fruit....

              BTW, a few years ago a produce manager at Sid Wainer's told me they had some sour cherries in, but had to charge something like 18 dollars per pound. Certainly a disincentive for grocers to carry something so fleetingly short-lived as fresh sour cherries. The type we grow - okay, they grew themselves and we just discovered them fighting their way through lots of invasive brush, ripen over a short two to three week period in July. I suspect most go right to the canneries.

              1. re: Docshiva

                We had Concord grapes at Trader Joe's a while back. I'd imagine they were a seasonal item, and probably not available in all regions (some produce is sourced locally), but we had them none the less.

              2. Right off the top of my head, things I would buy if I found them in my area. Darigold spumoni and Sara Lee banana cake. I can still buy them in Los Angeles but can't get them in Houston.

                Not really your question, but I wish I could get them here.

                1. Charlotte Russe -- maybe a NYC phenomenon -- only available in cold-weather months: a thin layer of sponge cake topped with a decadent amount of (real) whipped cream, all topped with a marischino cherry and held together in a cylindrical, white, cardboard container.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: CindyJ

                    not exactly the same thing, b'c there's a milky caramel sauce w/it, but try asking for "tres leches" cake in a dominican bakery.

                  2. Chow Chow. Veggies in a vinager-mustard sauce.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Fog City Kid

                      Fog City Kid:


                      Jake & Amos products are terrific and worth ordering.

                      Here in Missouri, I can find a variety of their products, including Chow Chow, in Dutch (Mennonite) bulk food stores in rural areas (Tipton, Knob Noster, etc).

                      I can also sometimes find them in specialty food stores and select prime groceries in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

                    2. Elio's Frozen Pizza. I don't even know if they still make this stuff or maybe it's only a regional thing in the Northeast and no where to be found here on the west coast of Fla. Even as a 10 year old kid (particularly growing up in pizza rich NJ), I was sharp enough to realize this stuff wasn't even remotely pizza-like. However, in the pre-microwave days this was the closest thing to a quick snack a kid could make on his own. Although at 10, I was already adding my own toppings - a drizzle of olive oil, some oregano, sliced olives, maybe some anchovies. If nothing else, it would be a nice jog dowm memory lane and after all, it was better than the toaster pizzas (at least you could add your own toppings to the Elio's.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: srcusa

                        elio's is still plentiful in supermarkets across south jersey. i'd never heard of it (and still haven't tried it) till i moved here about 11 years ago...they sure don't carry it in dallas.

                        1. re: srcusa

                          The stuff I grew up with as Elio's (is it 1 'l' or 2?) in the 70's hasn't existed in the Elio's box (which is still available in name only) for quite a while. You know- those 3 slice rectangular jobbies. We had it at home and even in the school cafeteria, and the cheese had sort of a cheddary taste.

                          Well...it is still available, but under a different name (or names)- the most popular is Betzios, but I'm pretty sure the Shop Rite store brand is the same stuff. Apparently there is still a factory somewhere churning out the stuff, the key is finding out what name it is selling under.

                          The new McCain-Elios stuff is horrid, btw. And my opinion of Betzios may be too clouded by nostalgia to be objective, but I like it in the same way that I like Godzilla movies...

                          1. re: srcusa

                            That brings back such memories! I used to love that stuff, and I liked to add my own toppings, too.

                          2. Vanilla cream pop tarts! Had one every morning for breakfast while in college. Loved those things. Sigh...

                            Also: Sara Lee maple pecan coffee cake ring.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: AmyH

                              Dutch Apple Pop Tarts for me - they were frosted apple, (and maybe this is memory playing a trick on me) I swear the pastry was different, slightly sweeter and more like shortbread.

                              I just saw Breyer's Butter Pecan ice cream in the market tonight.

                            2. Mario Batali's pasta sauce, I usually make my own but they sure were convenient to have around. I live in San Francisco and used to find it at Trader Joe's, but true to Trader Joe's form they no longer carry it, not sure if it even still being made, I haven't been able to find a replacement that even comes close.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: Kristine

                                I got Mario Batali's pasta sauce at Whole Foods recently.

                                1. re: ballulah

                                  Mind if I ask what kind you got and how it tasted?


                                  1. re: kobetobiko

                                    I got the Arrabiata sauce. It was alright, it wasn't as good as Rao's, but definitely a good substitute when you're pressed for time and can't make your own.

                                2. re: Kristine

                                  Whole Foods is the major carrier these days-- same sauce, same jar, new price. Really, the only sauce we liked on the market.

                                3. The black pepper gastric, put out under Alain Rondelli's (sp?) name after he closed his restaurant in San Francisco probably close to 10 years ago now. Williams-Sonoma carried it, then it disappeared.

                                  1. Dadburned fresh spinach. My local grocery store only had it sporadically anyway, but since the whole e.coli thing it's almost impossible to come by.

                                    If you live where you can get Blue Bunny ice cream, they still have butter brickle.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: revsharkie

                                      That's sad, my stores all have fresh spinach with big labels on them stating that they are from Arizona and/or Texas. Amazing how quick they cope. I felt very daring seving spinach salad with my Christmas dinner, and no ill effects.

                                    2. I liked Keebler's Cinnamon Sandies. Their Sandies [cookies] product line is shrinking fast.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Cheese Boy

                                        I love Keebler's Pecan Sandies. A few years ago, I found Keebler's ALMOND Pecan Sandies with almond flavoring. They were superb. I found them in rural Idaho but not when I returned home to Kansas City. The following year when I returned to Idaho, I couldn't find them at all.

                                        The low fat Pecan Sandies are simply dreadful. Hard as rocks! How can one make a shortbread cookie with low fat? Not very well, apparently.

                                      2. Do you really have difficulty finding Butter Pecan ice cream? I don't know where you are, but Rite-Aid, Ralph's Private Selection, and Dreyer's all make it...

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: Emme

                                          Must be local tastes. The nut flavors - butter pecan, maple walnut, pistachio - all require a trip away from the supermarket; although the same supermarket in a different town or neighborhood may stock them.

                                            1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                              And a good thing at that. :)

                                              Haagen-Daaz has butter pecan ice cream too. I've seen it at Whole Foods in both MA and the DC area.

                                        2. Back when I was a kid, they had a cracker called Chippers. I think they were made by Nabisco. They are long gone. :(

                                          Bush's Chili Hot beans were a no-show for a while, but they're back (same beans, different label & slightly different name).

                                          Also a reduction in sugar free products - lots are gone or hard to find now. Those of us with blood sugar issues (rather than those following fad low carb diets) are really sad that our selection is dwindling! One of my favorites was Pria low carb bars. They were good & cheap for a quick breakfast on the run (in other words most breakfasts!) They have some Pria bars now, but they aren't the same, especially the carb count!

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: luv2bake

                                            I miss the Pria Carb bars as well. I figured the net carb amount were found to be too low or misleading. They sure were good.

                                          2. Trader Joe's often stops carring things....examples: tomato paste in a tube and sweet potato french fries, just to name two.

                                            1. Edie's (spelling?)from the grocery store, makes one called Toffee Bar Crunch or something like that. The Marble Slab in Arlington Texas (might be one in your area) had/has? one called pralines and cream that was really special. Baskin Robbins has one with a similar name, similar flavor but not really quite as good as the Marble Slab's.

                                              1. Sunshine Golden Raisin Biscuits. A staple of my long lost youth.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: Scagnetti

                                                  Oh, YES!!!!! TJ's carried a similar product with apricot filling for a while and then discontinued them, like so many other good things.

                                                  1. re: Scagnetti

                                                    YUM! Those are so good! My mom always bought those.

                                                    1. re: Scagnetti

                                                      The Vermont Country Store sells Raisin Biscuits. They are a bit expensive and you have to pay for shipping but if you want them bad enough they are available there!

                                                    2. Carnation Breakfast Bars. They were dry, dense, and probably loaded with preservatives but boy were they delicious! Vanilla was my favorite. I've written to Nestle Inc. asking them to bring them back (they now own Carnation), but I never got a reply...

                                                      1. Betty Crocker Boston Cream Pie Mix...now I make my own and it's good but my grandmother did this version when I was a child and we loved it.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: AnneM

                                                          Would you mind posting your Boston Cream Pie recipe? I've been looking for a good one!

                                                        2. I'm probably the only person who misses this one, but 8 oz cans of stewed tomatoes seemed to all disappear from stores at the same time. Not one brand seems to make them. They were just the right size for throwing in a pan of rice or mac & cheese when cooking just for myself. I hate having to greeze or throw out half a bigger can. I would have stocked up on a case of the mall cans if I'd known they were disappearing.

                                                          1. 3-D Doritos... i miss them O.o

                                                              1. re: kobetobiko

                                                                I thought I had seen these in Britain, but here's a nearer source:
                                                                Doing a quick search, I was truly amazed at the number of ketchup chip brands available...

                                                              2. Mrs. Paul's frozen crab cakes -- haven't seen these in years.

                                                                1. (As we all know) Milk Lunch and the Nabisco Oyster crackers that had the guy shucking an oyster on the box. Add to this list Kelloggs "Just Right" cereal (at least where I shop), Flako pie crust mix, Viennetta ice cream logs.

                                                                  1. Mrs. Pauls fish sticks. Their line has really shrunk and I can only find them in one store. Yes, I know they are bad, but once in a while...:)

                                                                    1. Having a hard time finding low-carb items now. They may still be out there, but aren't advertised as such, as the LC craze has died down.

                                                                      1. cranberries- out of season I guess but I need some to replenish my homemade cranberry vodka.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: emilief

                                                                          Buy extra when they're in season and freeze them. They freeze beautifully. You can just leave them right in the bag you buy them in, no need for any special handling.

                                                                        2. Dr. Bronner's Corn Chips -- used to be in most health food stores, but now they only make the soap.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. A great website to order discontinued items...


                                                                            1. Scagnetti---There is something like those golden raisin biscuits in the Vermont Country Store catalog. I remember them as Uneeda Biscuits but they sound like the same thing---buttery plain crackery cookies loaded with raisins?

                                                                              1. I've often thought that a company should hire me to like its competition's food products because as sure as I get fond of something, it disappears. Kellogg's used to have a wheat cereal called Krumbles. Ben & Jerry's used to have a low-fat pineapple coconut ice cream that you could add a little rum to and make a low-fat pina colada. Goya used to have a frozen guava nectar concentrate (well, it hasn't entirely disappeared but it takes a safari to find any). Frozen sour (pie, Montmorency) cherries used to exist. About ten years ago there was an Egg-Beaters-like product that was made from actual egg yolks with most of the cholesterol spun off---I forget what this was called but it had an actual egg flavor so you could make waffles with it and they tasted real. There used to be a quick Boston Cream Pie mix (separate envelopes for cake, cream filling, and chocolate icing). There was a ham sausage made from country ham. All Gone With the Wind.

                                                                                1. Mr. Salty's Pretzels

                                                                                  1. Recently I've been unable to find Kraft mayonnaise and Chipotle Tabasco locally. I find the tabasco adds a nice spicy/smoky flavour to a lot of dishes. And yes, Kraft mayo *is* the good option, as the default is Japanese style mayo, which is very sweet.

                                                                                    Oh, and proper bacon has been an issue since Costco switched to a local brand from Kirkland for all their processed meats. Local bacon is cured sweet enough that the sugar carmelizes in the pan, but not very smoked.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                                                                      El Yucateco makes a nice Chipotle version which might be good in a pinch. I use it in everything!