From Oreos to margarine: Five terrible foods -- and how we got stuck with them

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Fish sticks....
There are some foods that are so vile that it defies belief that they ever got created -- let alone stuck around through always-changing markets and tastes. Necessity is the mother of invention, in some cases with shortages and substitutions, but imitation can be flattery, or just cooked up to make a buck in a free, open market -- either way, some of the nargiest edible inventions that people have come up with keep hanging around despite being basically inedible curses upon humanity, and here's a list of five terrible foods -- and how we got stuck with them.

See also:
-McFish Bites: McDonald's sure knows how to bait a hook
- Five foods that are just fine to waste -- starting with Oreos
- Best Mashed Potatoes: Astoria Restaurant

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Nothing will make fish sticks fancy.

5. Fish sticks
Fish are not spawned bearing bread crumbs, but somehow sticks of minced--often inferior -- white fish globbed with breading came to be an American household staple, and public school children are force-fed them so they'll grow up believing that fish should be rectangular, hand-held and bite-sized. Even the most expensive, well-produced fish sticks aren't very good, with burnt-potato-tasting crusts and salty, watery insides. We got stuck with these thanks to our British friends across the pond -- probably in retribution for Yorktown -- as a direct result of the invention of the plate froster in 1929, the first quick freeze method for food. To make sure it worked, food needed to be in slim rectangular cuts, and since Brits love fish, it was picked as the go-to experiment.

Unfortunately it did work, and today, fish are put through machines to debone them and peel the skins off, then cut into fish pulp, formed into frozen slabs, whacked into pieces, breaded and par-fried, re-frozen and boxed or bagged up.

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And no amount of chives will fix these...

4. Instant mashed potatoes
Don't lie -- we've all made instant mashed potatoes in a pinch and most of us have gotten stuck picking at them at someone else's house as well, trying really hard to pretend they were delicious. Now it must be said that Potato Pearls aren't so bad -- they cook up fluffy and have a good flavor -- but those ubiquitous plastic zip bags full of dry flakes almost always turn into grainy mush that smells like carpet fibers, and they never, ever truly replace the exquisite beauty of form and function that is the real, actual mound of gravy-dripping, steaming hot mashed potatoes made with whole potatoes.

We got mashed potato flakes foisted on us when a Canadian scientist named Edward Asselbergs constructed the dehydrated flakes while working for the Department of Agriculture in Ottawa. The powdered food technique he developed was used thereafter to add protein to foods for people in nutrient-deficient countries, and of course, to create easy-to-make foods for military field rations and camping enthusiasts.

Dreamsicle.jpg
Yuck-yuck-yuck!

3. Dreamsicles
Vanilla ice cream by itself is a creamy, fragrant confection, and oranges are full of sweet-tart, summer-scented juice. But when you force them together into a frozen, hellish marriage of convenience you get an unpleasant, semi-milky, part-acidic bar of flavors that produce little else but cold, cough-syrup-flavored burbs.

There are an insane number of differing accounts on how these got started, but I think it's fair to say that whoever dreamed up dreamsicles should be chained to a post and gnawed on by rats. Popsicle popularized them, so I give them most of the blame. Then again, the company's other frozen creations bring balance to the forces of evil (fudgesicles, bomb pops and those new "Yosicles" with frozen yogurt) so I can't condemn Popsicle too harshly.


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66 comments
Miri Ladenburger
Miri Ladenburger

wow really? Orange creamcicles and Oreo's are awesome! You guys are freaking nuts!

rawdoggin
rawdoggin

I still have recurring nightmares about eating Vienna sausages.  Short salty meat sticks covered in goo.  Reminds me of boy scouts.

Faycless
Faycless

The Dora gummy bears are the most disgusting, nasty, vile garbage out there. And I believe the Dreamcicles were once called the 50-50 bar that I bought off the ice cream truck for a dime.

Kendra Wiig
Kendra Wiig

Oreos are not a terrible food. This author should be tossed into the street.

yakisaki
yakisaki

DREAMSICLES? REALLY??? no. I think you were going pretty good with instant potatoes and fish sticks, but oreos and dreamcicles? No. Just no. 


Jordan Nicole Montoya
Jordan Nicole Montoya

Every article I've seen written by her is just her being grumpy. I think she hates everything...

Dorothy Jane
Dorothy Jane

Ugh Josh eats oreos like his life depends on it. I think they are grody unless they are crushed up, slightly soggy, and in ice cream.

Robert Lerma
Robert Lerma

To the grumpy writer who wrote this needs to get laid, badly. Just because you don't like it doesn't mean it's the worst food for you. Remove the stick out of your ass

Ron Repsher
Ron Repsher

Yeah, I gotta agree that Oreo's are pretty disgusting. But I'd eat any of these before I'd touch a lima bean.

Josh Truscott
Josh Truscott

Seriously? You have OREOS and dreamsicles? Discredits the entire thing!!!

David Kotzebue
David Kotzebue

Still can't touch fishsticks. It was always our budget Fri meal growing up. Mac & cheese, too.

Ib Lisman
Ib Lisman

Oreos, Creamsicles? These are pure awesomeness. Your review is terrible, however.

Cortney Dickey
Cortney Dickey

In full agreement, one to add ice cream sandwiches. Mushy cookies with cold cream filling.

GFTW
GFTW

I want to see a video of methed-out plow oxen.

Ed Haas
Ed Haas

Gorgonzola cheese. It smells, and mostly tastes like how I would imagine eating out of a baby's diaper would be.

Ryan Lickteig
Ryan Lickteig

You are mistaken. Instant taters are the bomb!

Andy Thomas
Andy Thomas

All those foods rule! I should point out that I do have the pallet of a 7 year old kid.

Jose Montoya
Jose Montoya

Im just going to assume Dev is a millionaire, and can afford all that over priced bullshit. My only rule is no microwaves!

Stacey Rogers
Stacey Rogers

We aren't "stuck" with anything; if you don't like it, don't buy/eat it. That said, Oreos are a guilty pleasure of mine!

Steve At Work
Steve At Work

A Fig Newton. Sure, they're probably healthy to some degree, what with the figs and all, but I once found the ass half of a small green insect sticking out of one after a bite. The half I had just swallowed obviously contained the other half of the bug's guts. Yep, so therein lay the root of my Fig Newton phobia.

Denise Ruth Myrup
Denise Ruth Myrup

Oreos were good tasting in the seventies when they were still made with lard. The public pressure to replace the lard with shortening created the overly crunchy, bland tasting cookie it is today.

Dev Adams
Dev Adams

If it came from a factory, it's bad for you. Grass-fed and pastured meat, organic veggies and fruit - that's all you should eat. No processed food, no grains, no pseudo-grains.

Selector Sam
Selector Sam

Totino's Party Pizzas are cool when you eat them, but they destroy my innards the worse!

jenna-furrr
jenna-furrr topcommenter

@Kendra Wiig Could I at least have a fridge box to sleep in?

jenna-furrr
jenna-furrr topcommenter

@Jordan Nicole Montoya That's not true--I love candy and urnicerns!

jenna-furrr
jenna-furrr topcommenter

@Robert Lerma How do you know it's a stick? : )

jenna-furrr
jenna-furrr topcommenter

@Ron Repsher Lima beans do smell like soiled underpants....

jenna-furrr
jenna-furrr topcommenter

@Ib Lisman I get that a lot. : )

jenna-furrr
jenna-furrr topcommenter

@Cortney Dickey I agree, except for those chocolate-peanut butter ones--those are awesome...lol

Denreview
Denreview

@Ed Haas You clearly have never really smelled a baby diaper.  I love gorgonzola, I'll say that.  But while stinky, it may as well be fresh baked bread compared to some of the diapers I have changed.

jenna-furrr
jenna-furrr topcommenter

@Ryan Lickteig You said taters....lol

crucialbee1
crucialbee1

Amen to that, Brother -- Amen to that.

jenna-furrr
jenna-furrr topcommenter

@Half Aspen Awwwww....euwwww....I don't like them, either. : )

jenna-furrr
jenna-furrr topcommenter

@Denise Ruth Myrup Hmmmm....lard? I would try again them in that case.

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve topcommenter

@Dev Adams 

Not only are you nuts, but you must be rich, too.

jenna-furrr
jenna-furrr topcommenter

@Selector Sam Those are great with hot sauce....

Mantonat
Mantonat topcommenter

@foodcrazy Hey, I eat that way at home  - the majority of my meals - and I'm far from rich. It's amazing what becomes affordable when my pantry isn't filled with garbage. Sugars and grains are almost never in my house. My energy level and blood chemistry have never been better.

Plus, good quality locally raised meat becomes much more affordable when you buy direct and in quantity and use every part of the cuts you buy. I grow my own vegetables in the summer, so I know the source and the quality. I buy organic vegetables when they are local and in season, which brings the price down. 

Mantonat
Mantonat topcommenter

@foodcrazy @Mantonat No problem - I'm not trying to get you to retract your post or anything. Just a different point of view - a different way of eating that works for me. Most people like @Dev Adams are used to being called nuts because the rest of America has been sold the idea the government knows what's best for us, even though USDA recommendations keep making everyone sicker and more reliant on prescription meds. 

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