Iconic Foods From The 1980s That You Totally Forgot About

By Jack Ripley | March 21, 2024

A Knockout Crunch: Mr. T Cereal

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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You have to pity the fool who doesn't remember Mr. T Cereal. Mr. T was a cultural icon. Discovered during a contest for bar bouncers, he parlayed his fame into a role on “The A-Team” and even his own cartoon. Quaker Oats worked out a licensing deal with him, making Mr. T the first celebrity with a cereal. Mr. T Cereal hit the market in 1984 and quickly became a bestseller. Included in each box was a sheet of exclusive stickers.

The downfall of the cereal relates to two things: its commercials and sugar content. Parents questioned the ads, which often ran during morning cartoon blocks, and marketed the cereal to kids. Mr. T often told kids they could team up with him by buying his cereal. Once reports showed the large amounts of sugar in each serving, the end was near. The cereal left shelves in the early 1990s.


 

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.