Iconic Foods From The 1980s That You Totally Forgot About

By Jack Ripley | February 1, 2024

Is It Bacon?: It's Sizzlean

When some people picture the 1980s, they think about bright neon colors or wood paneling and other leftovers from the 1970s. For others, though, the decade was all about the food. Those of us who grew up in the 80s remember the snacks our moms set out after school and sent in our lunch boxes. From sweet and sugary drinks to dishes that used the then state-of-the-art microwaves, the food had everyone salivating and begging for more. Take a walk back in time with the foods that everyone loved in the 1980s.


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The health craze of the 1970s carried over into the 1980s, bringing with it products like Sizzlean. Citing the need for an alternative to bacon, Swift & Co. came up with a product that tasted the same as bacon but was better for you. Commercials claimed it had more than 60% less fat and was also easier to cook. Originally made from both pork and turkey, the company later released a beef version with a meatier flavor.

Though Sizzlean had some fans, it never quite broke the traditional bacon barrier. Fans of chewy bacon loved it, but others wished it crisped up more in the pan. ConAgra Foods later acquired the company and began closing some of its divisions, including Sizzlean. You'll find a similar flavor profile and texture today when you buy turkey bacon.

Not an Enchilada, Not Quite a Burrito: The Taco Bell Enchirito

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The Taco Bell of the 1980s looked very different compared to the chain today. Its menu included fewer options and dishes that made use of limited ingredients. One menu option fans still talk about is the Enchirito. Some restaurants in the chain added the dish in the late 1960s and the early 1970s, but it didn't go nationwide until the 80s. Though it sounds simple, it was delicious. Taco Bell mixed onions and ground beef with pinto beans and added it inside a tortilla before rolling it and coating the tortilla with olives, shredded cheese, and its signature red sauce.

Making the Enchirito even better was the metal tray it sat inside. The tray retained heat to keep the tortilla hot. Discontinued in 1993, the Enchirito popped up a few times on the menu, including for a month in 2023. While some fans miss the old metal tray and the olives on top, others eagerly await its next return.