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Jan 2, 2011 12:17 PM

What Foods and Food Products Are Still Just As Good As Ever?

Pork rinds of just about any brand (hard to screw 'em up, I guess)

Uncle Ben's Wild Rice (just don't grab one of the instant boxes or frou-frou flavors by mistake)

Chef Boyardee mini ravs

Lipton Chicken Noodle Soup

Whataburger burgers (although they have become prohibitively expensive)

Totino's frozen pies (they have gotten smaller, though; still a good deal)

Heinz Ketchup (I don't see the decline descried by others)

French's yellow mustard (sometimes I just want yellow ballpark mustard, and this is still good stuff)

Del Monte French cut green beans (much better than the generic brands)

Popeye's Chicken

Taco Villa

Tabasco (original sauce)

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  1. new coke. oh, wait, you wanted things that used to be GOOD? ;-)

    Simply Heinz is the orig. recipe. fucking fantastic.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chowrin

      Yes, Simply Heinz (made with real sugar, not HFCS) tastes like it used to. Coke from Mexico, sold in glass bottles and also made with real sugar, brings me right back to my childhood in the 70s.

      Also, Armour Vienna Sausages and Sunbeam Bread.

    2. Before I started shopping at Trader Joes, I preferred the C&W brand for frozen vegetables
      Now I stick with the green beans that TJ imports from Frances, though they aren't 'French cut'.

      1. Heinz Ketchup and Hellman's Mayo are still as good as ever. Have to disagree with you on Tabasco. I think it's definitely lost something over the years. maybe it's the inlfux of new hot sauces, but I definitely think it's gone from being slightly hot with good taste to hotter with no taste.

        3 Replies
        1. re: jhopp217

          Gonna have to take up for the McIlhenny family's Tabasco sauce. I once knew a family member, and can say that they are serious about their original hot sauce staying the same (other newer flavors I don't know about). I've visited their company home on Avery Island, truly a beautiful place, and toured the facility. You don't have to know a family member to do that, it's open to the public. How many other American businesses have been in business since 1868 and are open to the public? No, I don't work there and not gettin' nuthin' for this. Read more about it on their website and check out the island photos of egrets and Mr. Ned's collections and more:

          1. re: sancan

            There was a piece on NPR some years back -- an audio tour of the McIlhenny facilities. The guide, a gent with a delightful La. accent was taking the reporter to the aging room, where the pepper mash is in open vats. She started to cough and splutter upon entry. The guide said that "old Mr. McIlhenny" called this the family "baptismal font," that all McIlhenny babies had to be anointed there.

            1. re: jmckee

              Love the Mr. Ned stories. For a long time, there weren't too many other hot sauces around - in comparison to now I mean. Mr. Ned traveled the world, often accompanied by several staffers and customers or suppliers. If they went to a place for lunch and there was no Tabasco on the table, he'd ask for it. If they didn't have any, the entire party would leave the restaurant.

        2. Best Foods Mayonnaise
          French's Ballpark mustard
          Newman's olive oil/vinegar dressing
          Land o' Lakes butter, unsalted
          V-8 juice - the classic
          Frank's Red! Hot! Sauce
          Mexican crema blanca from the carniceria
          Ruffles potato chips
          Welch's purple grape juice
          And I may need to run away after I write this, but I still think Campbell's Cream of Tomato can't be beat, especially (ok, ONLY) if made with full whole milk.
          And velveeta, which is gross unfood, but sometimes is the only thing for a pan of mac and cheese.

          21 Replies
          1. re: mamachef

            I agree with everything on this list (Hellmann's where I come from) and would add:
            Mild Slim Jims
            RC Cola
            Cracker Jacks
            Oscar Mayer Balogna
            Claussen pickles
            Ocean Spray Cranberry juice

            1. re: CDouglas

              I've got to ask, because this thread just astounds me. How long have you been consuming these products?

              If you have been only eating them since the days of HFCS and other additives, I can understand saying they are good as always.

              However, especially drinks like Ocean Spray and RC Cola have been changed from sugar to HFCS and if you had the original, no, they are not just as good.

              I'm living in Central America now where everything is made from sugar. RC Cola is amazing. It is not the sad drink being sold currently in the US

              1. re: rworange

                Nice to hear brands we know are still made with regular sugar in Central America.

                1. re: smaki

                  Yeah, its really sad to taste the "real thing" and know I can't get it at home. Yoplait with real sugar is a lovely thing ... and breakfast cereal ... with sugar ... what a concept.

                  On the other hand, Oreo's just ain't that great anymore even with sugar.

                2. re: rworange

                  there's no HFCS in Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Cocktail, and AFAIK, the recipe for Cracker Jacks is the same as it's always been.

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    My mistake. That is just the Cranberry sauce.

                    Did I critisize Cracker Jacks? No I did not. It probably is one of the few products that still has close to the original ingrediant list. No points off for using soy oil instead of whatever was originally used.

                    The prizes are increasingly cheesy over the years, but they weren't all that to start with ... but how many products always give you a toy.

                    1. re: rworange

                      I've got to ask, because this thread just astounds me. How long have you been consuming these products?

                      If you have been only eating them since the days of HFCS and other additives, I can understand saying they are good as always.
                      i read that to mean that you were condemning every product on the list...i apologize if i misinterpreted your comments.

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        Yeah, I wasn't clear. Just picking on the drinks in that particular list.

                        However, so many of the products in this topic have clearly changed over the years it astounds me that people think they are as good as ever.

                        I love Hellman's mayo and I'll vouch for its goodness, but even the oil in that has changed over the years.

                        I don't know, as I read labels more and more I get more annoyed how food has changed.

                        Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce has HFCC, so like Grey Poupon, it has changed

                        Ben and Jerry's changed? For sure, since they were bought.

                        However, a good chunk of this list is just junk food anyway ... including my beloved Pringles ... which have always been formed potato chips


                        Its just that when you go back to this stuff after not eating it for years, theres a real taste shock.

                        Dinty Moore to me tastes and smells like dog food. I adored Claussen dill pickles, but after laying off them for a few years they taste of nothing but salt.

                        Do I like boxed Kraft Mac and cheese? Sure. Has it always been junk? Yep. Campbell's soups ... love the salty taste, mushy noodles with the notes of tin can. It hasn't changed at all.

                        I don't know ... maybe a lot of this just wasnt' really that good to begin with so "good as ever" is relative.

                        Going to have to try Slim Jims again when I see them. Used to loved them but even before the days of nutrional education, I wasn't thinking this was health food. Love this article on the ingredients

                        "It's real meat, all right. But it ain't Kobe. The US Department of Agriculture categorizes beef into eight grades of quality. The bottom three—utility, cutter, and canner—are typically used in processed foods and come from older steers with partially ossified vertebrae, tougher tissue, and generally less reason to live. ConAgra wasn't exactly forthcoming on what's inside Slim Jim."

                        It goes on.

                        I guess we should celebrate the products that haven't done a slight of hand trick and really have not changed .... and it is sad that we often don't notice the difference.

                        1. re: rworange

                          Why would anyone hang on to a steer till it was old? Just for the joy of feeding it till its meat value drops? Yes there are older bulls (the Spanish have special uses for heroes of the bull ring), and older breeding cows and older milking cows. But steers don't produce anything except manure.

                      2. re: rworange

                        I have been drinking RC Cola at least as long as you. Has the taste changed? Yes. Do I still appreciate the difference it brings in comparison to Pepsi and Coke? Yes. Did I grow up drinking it and eating Moonpies? Yes.

                        Thanks for your critique of my post. I know why you did it but I simply don't care what you think.

                        1. re: CDouglas

                          It isn't you, I probably touched on most of the posts in this thread.

                          You acknowledge there's a difference. And that is just my point, so doin't read anything else into my post other than that.

                          The topic was what products are as good as ever.

                          There's a lot of things I like still, but they have changed ... McDonald's fries are one. However, they have changed a lot from the original version. So they are not as good as ever.

                          So my question was, and is to anyone, how long have you been eating or drinking these products. To someone who only had RC Cola since it changed to HFCS, yes, it would be as good as ever.

                          I guess it is living in Central America where products use sugar ad often fewer additives. My repeated mantra has been "Hey, I remember when this tasted this way.

                          I haven't seen Hostess cupcakes, but theres a product that is similar called "penguins". I bit into one the other day and ... I remember when Hostess cupcakes tasted that way.

                          How many corners do companies have to cut before people notice?

                          1. re: rworange

                            Hi rworange,

                            How long have I been eating these products?

                            Well, Miracle Whip, Best Foods Mayo, Oscar Mayer Braunschweiger -since I was a little kid. Oh, I was born in 1942, so that's a long, long time...

                            Stouffer's Spinach Souffle - since at least 1994.

                            Is that long enough to qualify for your stringent requirements?

                            Yes, I do believe they are just as good as ever. Your opinion, to which you are entitled, may vary.


                            1. re: I used to know how to cook...

                              Doesn't sound like the spinach souffle changed.

                              IMO, the only mistake Coca Cola made with New Coke, was announcing the change. If they said nothing, I bet no one would have noticed.

                              As I said elsewhere, it is too bad for all of us. I keep being astounded that a third world country makes products the way they were once made and in many ways outdoes what we eat in the US.

                              Trying a lot of these products that are closer to the original version was an eye opener. They are not as good as ever were .... in the US. I'm really going to miss Yoplait with sugar rather than HFCS.

                              1. re: rworange

                                Well, I can't speak to Coca Cola making a mistake because I never drink it.

                                Nor do I eat Yoplait...


                            2. re: rworange

                              "What Foods and Food Products Are Still Just As Good As Ever?"

                              In other words what products did you enjoy long ago that you still enjoy today? No mention of pristine ingredient replication being the requirement for products to be the same.

                              Many CHOW folks here tried to contribute just that type of content but your comments derailed the conversation.

                              Hijacking threads and being overly critical, patronizing and stubbornly argumentative does not progress the discussion and produces zero helpful content. That type of posting devalues this site.

                              1. re: CDouglas

                                Actually, I consider this thread exactly what Chowhound is for me. And I totally agree that this type of post devalues the site ... if the intent is as you describe.

                                This is a discussion forum. The point of it is differing points of view. Anything anyone posts is subject to being discussed .... positively or negatively.

                                Just because a discussion doesn't agree with you, doesn't make it argumentative. My experience with lots of these products is different. So that was the reason for my question about when people started trying these products.

                                Either ...

                                1. You purchased the product after it went downhill
                                2. You have been buying the product faithfully over the years and have not noticed the change.

                                The latter is distressing to me. That consumers are duped into eating products of inferior quality because they just don't notice the gradual changes.

                                Patronizing ... not in the least. How can you think anyone with a current passion for Pringles could be patronizing of anyone else's food choice. There are odes from me on the Chains board about shamrock shakes, McDonald's cheeseburgers and the McRib. That makes it difficult to patronize anyone else's food choices.

                                Many of these products just don;t taste as good to me. There is not a thing wrong with that. What is wrong is dumping on someone who says that.

                                Thinking about it ... no, the title does not imply what foods people still enjoy today. It implies unchanged products ... if not in terms of ingredients ... then taste.

                                The information here in that case, is misleading.

                                Maybe the one thing of value in this post is that it might bring up some foods people haven't tried for a while ... so they go out and buy it .. and find it really is not so good these days.

                                Tell me, exactly HOW does this type of thread lead anyone to eat better?

                                It is a consensus thread.

                                I like Hellman's mayo. Yeah, me too.

                                What's the point of that? Where is the helpful content you mention being lost? Are people who have never tried Hellman's going to rush out and buy it? What planet would those people live on never having tried Hellman's?

                                However, that is a product that, despite changes in the oil used, still tastes good and might actually taste as good as it ever did.

                                In Guatemala, there's Hellman's in squeeze bags. You can buy imported Hellman's iin a glass jar. There's some sort of subtle difference. While everyone is a Hellman's fan, my family went nuts over the imported version. So, yeah, I'd say original Hellman's is just as good as ever.

                                Seriously, don't worry about me particpating in "feel good" rather than "taste good" threads. As I mentioned, I thought this was going to be a dead thread. It was started in January and didn't have many posts.

                                The Pringles got to me. And they ARE just as good as ever ... but they weren't a quality product to begin with. However, if you pick up a can today, they taste like they did when they first came out ... actually, they might have improved since they first came out. They are edible these days.

                                AND my contribution of M&M's is spot on. They haven't changed. No one will be misled buying this product.

                                1. re: rworange

                                  AND my contribution of M&M's is spot on. They haven't changed. No one will be misled buying this product.

                                  Totally disagree.

                                  I miss the tan M&M's. Blue M&M's are just so weak ...

                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                    You have GOT to be putting us on.

                                    1. re: Tripeler

                                      i'm with ipse. say what you will, but even if it's all in the mind, some of the colors taste different!

                                      i never liked red m&m's, and though i haven't ever had a blue one - they were introduced after i last ate any - i wouldn't try one anyway. they just *look* wrong to me and that has enough of a subconscious impact to ruin the experience of eating one.

                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                        Well, you need to get into a rock band and specify which M&Ms you want to have removed before they are put in your dressing room! Lol!

                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                          The brown ones taste the best, and the tan ones were always the second best. I definitely miss them too....

                  2. Inglehoffer mustard
                    Claussen dill pickles
                    Pappardelle pasta
                    Philadelphia Cream Cheese
                    Boars Head Meats
                    Tropicana Orange Juice
                    Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream

                    My junk food weakness - Totinos Pizza Bites.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                      If you ever get to NY and can try Ben's cream cheese, you cannot go back to Philadelphia brand.