Lunchbox Snacks of YesterYear: Rival Snacks

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Throughout the "Lunchbox Snacks of YesterYear" series, I discussed how each snack cake had it's own rival from a competing company. At times, I found it very hard to keep the names straight for each brand's version. I wish I could have found a chart for ease-of-use, but alas, I could not find one. So, with the spirit that YesterYear Retro would be a resource for someone out there in retro-internet land, I've decided to put together my own.

I intend this list to be a work in progress and I'll continually update it as I find more rivals.

You can check back continually here on this page. Just head to the "Collections" section of this site and you'll find a link.

If you have any suggestions for the list please leave a comment below.


Snack Cake Rivals
Drake's Cakes
Entenmann's
Hostess
Little Debbie
Zoinks!N/ATwinkieCloud Cakes
Yankee DoodleChocolate Creme CupcakesCupcakesCreme Filled Chocolate Cupcakes
YodellsN/AHo HosSwiss Rolls
Devil DogsN/ASuzy Q'sDevil Cremes
Ring DingN/ADing DongCocoa Cremes
N/AGlazed Honey BunThe Honey BunHoney Buns
Coffee CakesCrumb Coffee CakeCinnamon Streusel Coffee CakeCinnamon Coffee Cake

Lunchbox Snacks of YesterYear: Entenmann's

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Growing up in New York, I think Entenmann's products were in my house more than anything.  Perhaps not as a "Lunchbox Snack" but a snack around the house nonetheless.  There was always a long rectangular box of Entenmann's Donuts on the kitchen table, right next to the Coffee Cake or other pastry Mom bought.  


While Drake's Cakes seem to be a local New York/North East favorite, Entenmann's is probably most synonymous with the North Eastern United States.  I always thought Entenmann's was a true "local" snack while I was growing up, and I was sort of disappointed when I found out that my "local secret" wasn't just a local secret and was, in fact, a nationwide brand.  

Thank you for sticking with me this month, as we've gone quite in-depth on something as simple as companies that made our Lunchbox Snack.  Please, if you haven't already, go back and check out my articles on Hostess (HERE), Drake's Cakes (HERE), or Little Debbie (HERE.)  I think they're well worth your time for a decent history lesson and a walk down memory lane of some snacks you can't find on store shelves anymore.  

As far as Entenmann's goes, the Chocolate Donuts have to be my all-time favorite, although, like many of Entenmann's other products, they aren't as good as they once were.  I'll let you in on a secret, the Mini Chocolate Donuts still taste like the good old days.  That said about the donuts, I do have many fond memories of my Uncle coming down for a visit or late nights hanging out with him and my Brother during our summers in Maine, playing cards and snacking on an Ultimate Crumb Cake.    

Before we get into my favorites, let's find out how this New York bakery turned into a national powerhouse.  

Lunchbox Snacks of YesterYear: Little Debbie

Friday, February 19, 2021

Welcome back to the third article in a series about our favorite Lunchbox Snacks of YesterYear.  In my first article, we covered the long history of probably the most well-known brand of snacks, Hostess!  You can click here to read that article.  Part Two covered a mostly regional brand, but one with a pretty big fan following (including myself) in Drake's CakePlease, if you haven't already, click HERE to read that one as well!

This time around, we'll be covering that has a connection to both Hostess and Drake's, and that's Little Debbie.  Little Debbie, and parent company McKee Foods, came up quite a bit in our Drake's article, so it seemed natural it be the subject of Part 3 of my Lunchbox Series.


Growing up, Mom didn't buy Little Debbie's much.  The only thing I can truly remember her buying was "Nutty Buddy" bars because my Dad liked them.  But that quickly stopped (or at least she hid them really well) because my brother and I would eat them before he could take them to work for his lunchbox snack!  

My wife, however, said she likely had Little Debbie snacks more than any other brand.  Oatmeal Creme Pies, the Fudge Brownie, and the Christmas Tree Brownies were often around while growing up.  Her mom, an elementary school teacher, would usually buy them for the students in her class, and they always had plenty around the house.  

Little Debbie began life in 1956 as Debra McKee.  That's right, "Little Debbie" is a real person.  It wasn't until she was 4 years old, in 1960, that she'd become famous.  How'd she get there?  Let's take a look back at the McKee family.

Celebrate Mardi Gras with these 10 Films

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Unfortunately, most of New Orleans (and the surrounding area) has had to cancel Mardi Gras festivities for the 2021 celebration due to COVID-19.  At $10.5 billion per year, tourism is a significant part of New Orleans' economy, and without Mardi Gras, the city will undoubtedly suffer financially from the lack of visitors.  So, without the ability to visit this year, I thought it would be fun for all of us to take a look at some films over the years that featured or at least occurred at the New Orleans' Mardi Gras.  

Personally, I enjoy New Orleans when I'm there for work but I likely wouldn't vacation there.  I'm not a party scene guy and prefer Bourbon Street much more in the daytime than at night.  For those of you who like that sort of thing, more power to you and no offense meant to locals.  I enjoy the tourist spots, the music, the architecture, the atmosphere (the "vibe") of NOLA while I'm there.  Oh, and of course the beignets from Cafe du Monde!    

Lunchbox Snacks of YesterYear: Drake's Cakes

Friday, February 12, 2021

Thank you for sticking through my last post, where we took a VERY in-depth look at Hostess.  It was long, but, having read it back to myself several times, I think it was very worth the time and effort I put into it, and I hope you think so too! 

Nevertheless, we're back for another edition of Lunch Box Snacks of YesterYear, this time featuring Drake's Cake!  


I mentioned in the announcement for the Lunchbox series that the Fruit Pie is my all-time favorite snack made by these companies.  I must admit, I lean toward preferring the Hostess one's taste, but I'm a bigger fan of Drake's size and shape.  The Hostess pie is one big empanada half-moon shaped pie.  Drake's is two little square ones.  Having two small snacks instead of one, regardless that it's the same amount altogether, I lean towards picking up a Drake's while I can.

Some of you may be asking, "What's a Drake?"  No, not "The Drake" on "Seinfeld" that made Jerry exclaim that he "HATES THE DRAKE!"  Although Drake's Cake does connect to the classic NBC sitcom, and I'll touch on it later.

Drake's Cake is a rival company of Hostess and the like that was primarily marketed in the Northeastern United States but some 10 or 15 years ago began expanding to the Mid-Atlantic and Southern United States.  

For a while, the Drake's Apple Fruit Pie (and all of their other snacks) had packaging that even read "Drake's by Hostess"!  What?!  How'd that happen?

Well, let's find out together, shall we?

Lunchbox Snacks of YesterYear: Hostess

Monday, February 8, 2021

If you read the announcement post for this new "Lunchbox Series," I mentioned I had my memory jogged about an all-out media frenzy a few years ago over Hostess's bankruptcy and sale.  After reflecting on those events, I decided to do a deep dive into the companies that I often found in my lunch box as a kid.  I have fond memories of opening my lunch box to see, right next to the Ecto Cooler and the ham and cheese sandwich, a Hostess snack cake.  I'm sure many of you have memories of opening your lunchbox to see these snacks too! 

Let's start Part One of the "Lunchbox Snacks of YesterYear" series on the Big Daddy of them all:  Hostess!  


Hostess's story is a weaving and intricate tale of mergers and acquisitions that date back to 1849!  Stick with me here; it's a fun story and worth your time if you have even the slightest hint of interest in Hostess or business empire-building in general.  

Enjoy!

Coming Soon: Lunchbox Snacks of YesterYear

Friday, February 5, 2021


Do you remember this commercial?  In the late 90s, Hostess made several memorable "Where's the cream filling?" commercials advertising their most popular snack cake, "The Twinkie."

This past Christmas season, I was browsing stores for different types of snacks for our house guests and came across a display of some snacks I haven't eaten in years:  Hostess, Drake's, Little Debbie, Entenmann's, and more.  The branding sucked me right in, and the bright colors and large letters on the boxes pulled on my nostalgia strings while memories of childhood snacks that Mom would occasionally toss in my lunch box came rushing back to me.  

I grabbed an armful before something else caught my eye.  All three brands had basically the same snack.  Little Debbie has the "Swiss Roll," Hostess has the "Ho-Ho," and Drake's has the "Yodel."  I knew these companies had similar products since my favorite snack, the Apple flavored "Fruit Pie," is made by all four Hostess, Drake's, Little Debbie, and Entenmann's, but I never had sampled them all at the same time.  I figured, what the heck, it's Christmas time, and picked up all 3 boxes of the chocolate pastries in front of me.  

After I got them home, my family and I sampled the Ho-Ho/Swiss Roll/Yodel variations.  Personally, I think Little Debbie wins this round, but the verdict is still out on their other snacks.  

In discussing the three snack cakes, I was reminded of the media frenzy from a few years ago when Hostess declared bankruptcy and was sold off in pieces.  I've always been interested in seemingly inconsequential things like what company owns what and what brand belongs to which company.  My Mom has always had a theory that 3 companies own everything, and she's not wrong.  Maybe she's off by a number or two, but when you think of the number of products you use and look into who owns them, the "competition" that exists between some brands seems silly.

Pondering this sale and the breakup of Hostess, and seeing some Drake's "Fruit Pies" that say "By Hostess" on them, I've decided to do a deep dive into the history of these companies.  It won't be much of a "personal perspective" article, but more of a company history and a compilation of their top brands and those brands of snacks we loved but don't exist any longer and wish were still around.  

If you'd be so kind, please keep checking back for my upcoming series of posts in February that I'll be calling "Lunchbox Snacks of YesterYear."  Before the month is through, I hope to cover Hostess, Drake's, Little Debbie, and Entenmanns, along with one or two "Retro Scans" and some other fun ideas I have floating around in my head.  


Retro Scans: 1987 Harry and the Hendersons Wax Pack

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Harry and the Hendersons is a 1987 comedy film starring John Lithgow and Melinda Dillon. Steven Spielberg served as its uncredited executive producer, while Rick Baker provided the makeup and the creature designs for Harry.   It's the story of a Seattle family's encounter with a Bigfoot, partially inspired by the many claims of sightings in the Pacific Northwest.  

The film won an Oscar for Best Makeup while earning $50 million worldwide ($29 million domestic).  When "Harry and the Hendersons" opened. it debuted third behind "Beverly Hills Cop II" and "The Untouchables."  

The film had a television series spin-off also called "Harry and the Hendersons," which ran for 72 episodes from 1991 to 1993.


Below, enjoy this 33-year-old wax pack, complete with the original stick of gum and a sticker card!