When it comes to junk food, everybody’s got their own guilty pleasure. Whether you have more of a sweet tooth or a passion for the salty, there’s a junk for everyone, so to speak. So many tasty treats have made it to the food Hall of Fame that hold a special place in our collective hearts and minds, so here are more of the Top 10 Iconic Junk Foods (Part 2.)
10. Ice Cream Sandwiches
What a true frozen treat staple – the ice cream sandwich. Who as a kid didn’t go crazy when their parents brought home a box of their favorite brand of these delicacies? Klondike, Fat Boy, everyone had their pick. Not only are ice cream sandwiches delicious and a big part of many a childhood, but they also have a very interesting story of how they came to be one of the most beloved treats ever. Its origins trace all the way back to the late 1800s when New York street vendors began selling Hokey Pokeys, the very first version of the ice cream sandwich. Back then, it was merely a humble sandwich made of only ice cream held together by two pieces of paper and cost only 1 penny. Not going to lie; they do sound way more appealing today than they did back then. Cookies beat paper, hands down. Over time, sponge cake began to be used as the “bread” and this evolved to become the good old soft cookies we all know and love. Today, the possibilities are endless. Graham crackers, chocolate chip cookies, waffles, you name it, anything can bear your block of ice cream and create this yummy treat. It’s so beloved, it even has its own dedicated day, the National Ice Cream Sandwich Day celebrated on August 2nd. An iconic treat with an iconic legacy, that’s exactly the kind of junk food we all need in our lives.
These chips are literally the definition of iconic; they don’t even need to be named. Just picture a red and a blue bag with a triangle label, and you’re probably all thinking about the same brand: Doritos. As a fairly new addition to the chip snacking world, Doritos is probably one of the most well known tortilla-based snacks. So much so that Doritos launched an ad for the chips without mentioning the name of the brand even once. Just one look at the packaging was enough to know exactly what they were talking about. Now, that’s successful advertising. It goes to show just how ingrained these little triangles of goodness are in our minds. With over 100 different flavors produced over the years, there’s bound to be a flavor perfect to satisfy your specific craving. In the mood for something ranch-ish and light? The Cool Ranch Doritos are there. Looking for something with a little more spice? The Spicy Nacho. A cheesy, nostalgic mood? The classic Nacho Cheese is your go-to. Basically, anything you feel like having, you can find in a Doritos bag. Fun fact; did you know that the original Doritos idea was invented at Disneyland? Unsold stale tortillas bought from a local vendor were sold with no flavor, and they eventually got picked up by Frito-Lay and released nationally in 1966. Who knew these unwanted, precious little tortillas would one day become a worldwide sensation? No matter where they came from, we’re just glad they found their way into our hearts – and stomachs!
Another cheesy, salty, and delicious treat has weaseled its way onto this list of iconic junk foods, and it’s not really a mystery as to why. Almost every American probably has a box – or two – of Cheez-Its in their pantries as we speak. It’s almost inevitable, and who can blame us! They’re small, easy to snack on, and overflowing with flavor. And, they don’t leave noticeable orange dust on your fingers, unlike some other cheesy snack brand, who shall not be named. You know who you are, Chester. Cheez-its have been around since the 1920s, and the brand has been owned by four different companies over the years. Four. Talk about being on unstable ground. But, despite its constant switch in leadership, Cheez-Its still managed to win over the public’s tastebuds to become a beloved brand of salty snacks. Even if the brand has encountered some bumps in the road over the years – like the time a fight broke out in a home in Altlanta over a box of Cheez-Its or when Kellog’s was sued by the whole grain police because the flour being used wasn’t all that “whole” – Cheez-Its are undeniably one of the best snacks ever invented. For heaven’s sake, there’s even a Cheez-Its pizza! How can anyone compete with that? They are perfectly orange, salty, cheesy, and have been around forever, and that’s enough to make them icons in the junk food world.
7. Pizza From Pizza Hut
Yes, pizza all by itself is already an iconic dish. With mountains of melted cheese, tomato sauce, and all the toppings you can think of, it’s safe to say it’s one of the most referenced meals in our modern times. From Tv shows to movies to books, any occasion is perfect for dropping little mentions of pizza here and there. But, one chain in particular has stepped up in terms of leaders in the pizza industry, and that’s Pizza Hut! First created in 1958 when two college students decided to open a pizza parlor in a small rented building in their hometown in Kansas, Pizza Hut quickly grew and eventually became the largest pizza company in the world with over 14 000 restaurants in 100 different countries! So what makes Pizza Hut so special and, well, iconic? Well it’s gotta be the delicious cheese-stuffed crust invented in the 1990s. This not only sprouted several other variations of the stuffed crust, like the very controversial Cheeseburger crust and the Cheesy Bites crust, but it changed the way we all thought pizza could be made. It basically changed the game, to put it simply. After all, Pizza Hut alone accounts for 3 % of U.S. cheese production; that’s gotta be worth mentioning. They were also early getting in the pan pizza game, which they introduced it in 1983. Pan pizza is basically a fluffier and thicker crust than the hand-tossed kind, and then cooked in a pan, of course. You can enjoy countless types of pizzas at Pizza Hut, and they make sure you’re getting the best quality and make it the most authentic possible. For an iconic, cheesy pizza experience, Pizza Hut just might be the best place you can go to.
Oh, M&M’s. What would we do without your classic, talking, multi-colored button-shaped chocolates that have been gracing our screens for years? So many iconic spokes candies were introduced to us, like the sardonic Red, the dim-witted Yellow, prideful Blue, alluring Ms. Green, and paranoid Orange. They all played a crucial role in the advertisements, first introduced in 1995. You might also be familiar with the M&M’s World store that’s situated right in the middle of Times Squares. Or the one in Las Vegas. Or in Shanghai. M&M stores are literally everywhere – ok, well, 6 locations to be exact, but still. Offering so many varieties, from plain chocolate to Peanuts to Almonds, and even the newly released Fudge Brownie, M&M’s are easily one of the most loved and practical chocolate snacks on the market. The perfect movie snack period. In fact, M&M’s are so loved that in 1982, they thought that the inclusion of the chocolate treat in Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster movie E.T. wouldn’t be such a big deal, so they declined to have them in the film. The gig instead went to Reese’s Pieces and it increased their sales by 300%. Maybe M&M’s are loved, but that exposure certainly wouldn’t have hurt their wallets! Oh, and by the way, no, the shells are not made out of bugs, contrary to what you might have heard before. That’s just a silly urban legend, so you can enjoy your favorite M&Ms with peace of mind.
Whether it’s on a hot summer day or on a late-night soda run, the most iconic soft drink you can get is Coca-Cola. When in search of a bubbly, refreshing drink, Coca-Cola is usually probably your go-to. Ok, so, we all know soft drinks aren’t exactly good for us – you know, because of all the sugar, and the fact that it can remove rust from coins, but that’s beside the point. Coca-Cola has been a part of American daily life and celebrations since 1886, over 134 years ago – who cares if it’s not the picture of health. You see it everywhere. On billboards, on TV, in magazines, even in foreign countries. In over 200 countries to be precise. The Coca-Cola logo is said to be recognized by over 94% of the world’s population and is the second-most understood term in the world, behind “okay.” The Coca-Cola brand is worth $74 billion and represents over 31.% of the beverages consumed around the world. This adds up to around 1.7 billion servings per day. Impressed yet? Coca-cola has taken over the world and we can’t even say we’re sorry for it, and for good reason. You might be familiar with a tall, large man with a belly full of jelly who goes from house to house and delivers presents. That’s right, Santa Claus has been a close friend of the company since the 1920s and has been appearing in their ads ever since. Coca-Cola has helped shape Santa’s image over the years and is even partially responsible for the old man’s attire, the red and white suit. Two icons united? You can’t beat that!
More like formed crisps than chips, Pringles are iconic for more than one reason. First off, the packaging. Either extremely genius or unbelievably evil. It was first thought of as a way to minimize the chips from breaking so they could keep their shape, but let’s be honest, it’s not always the most practical. How many times have you found yourself, elbow-deep in a tube of Pringles trying to get the last few wandering chips? Probably way too many times, but we can’t ignore the fact that there is a certain satisfaction in getting uncracked, fully formed, saddle shaped chips almost every time. The very friendly moustachioed mascot on these little tubes of heaven even has a name: M. Julius Pringle. Another “fun fact” about the packaging is that the developer of the tubes, Fredric Baur, even asked for his ashes to be buried in one. A little weird, but then again, he did create a new iconic way to enjoy snacking. Now, the shape. The distinctive saddle shape of a Pringle has a lot of thought behind it. And a lot of science. It took a long time and a lot of trial and error to obtain the shape we are all familiar with today. The combination of water, potato flakes, and corn starch is rolled into a flat potato sheet, cut and shaped under 4 tons of pressure, fried in hot oil, coated with seasoning, backflipped off a conveyer belt, packed and then delivered to your local grocery store. All in perfect stacks, just for you!
3. KFC Fried Chicken
You can’t say the words fried chicken without thinking of KFC. It’s almost impossible. You see a red and white striped bucket and you automatically see KFC written on it. As one of the best-kept culinary secrets of all-time, Colonel Sanders’s recipe of 11 herbs and spices for his famous fried chicken has been around since the early 1950s. It was initially sold at a roadside service station and was quickly franchised, and today there are over 23,000 KFC restaurants in over 140 countries. How’s that for a roadside sale? The crispy, greasy, and finger-licking’ good barrel of chicken at KFC is so iconic, that it was even published in Douglas’ collection of America’s Most Wanted Recipes, a compilation of famous recipe dupes. While the actual real recipe has never been officially released, and is kept under lock at the KFC headquarters, there’s a lot of speculation surrounding a “leaked recipe” going around the Internet. Nothing can be proven though, unless the very few people who actually know the recipe come clean. So it still remains a mystery. Many attempts have been made over the years to try and recreate this classic chicken. So classic and tasty, in fact, that it’s become a traditional Christmas eve dinner in… Japan! It’s so popular around that time of year that people need to order their buckets months in advance. Who needs turkey when you have Kentucky Fried Chicken, right? But what about the cranberry sauce?
You’re not you when you’re hungry, and that’s a problem! You should never be left craving a good chocolate, so Snickers is here to make sure this never happens. This chocolate bar made with nougat, caramel, and peanuts has been around for a solid 90 years and has since been popping up in our lives consistently – and sometimes, without us even realizing it. Seriously, how many times have you used the famous “you’re not you when you’re hungry” slogan when you saw someone getting disagreeable and peckish? It’s been so anchored in today’s pop culture that it just became a normal way of dealing with hangriness. Just toss them a Snickers, and it’ll pass. The candy bar has always made its presence known in advertisements – like their Super Bowl commercials. Many legendary actors like Joe Pesci and Betty White have appeared in commercials that have helped shape the brand. Partnerships with countless other iconic events like FIFA and the Olympics have also greatly influenced the rather good reputation the candy bar has. Snickers is one of the most popular candy bars in the world, with more than $424 million in sales. With a delicious taste and a feisty personality, it’s no wonder people are in love with Snickers.
1. McDonald’s Big Mac
Okay, you all knew this was coming. This McDonald’s item is the second-best seller after the french fries and, without a doubt, the most iconic – the Big Mac. This huge, greasy, and delicious delight has been on the McDonald’s menu since the late 1960s and has become a staple of fast-food burgers and an American favorite. Seriously. It’s often used as a symbol of American capitalism and is even used as a way to compare the cost of living in different countries. The Big Mac Index – yes a real thing – is serious business, indeed. The burger was originally called the Aristocrat, but McDonald’s thought it sounded way too rich and fancy for what it was. There’s almost like a cult-following when it comes to this burger, honestly. From McCoins to museums, the Big Mac frenzy is an actual thing. With over 550 million Big Macs sold each year – which is roughly about 17 per second – they’re basically a force of nature that no one could ever dethrone. Sorry, Whopper, but you’ve got nothing on these two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions on a sesame seed bun. This is simply too much of a delicacy to compete with. Hey, we don’t make the rules, the people do, and the people have spoken: and they want Big Macs!