Posts Tagged ‘nostalgia’

Barrel drinks

March 21, 2017

There are a lot of things in the breadth of the human experience that can be vastly improved by being enclosed within the confines of a plastic container whimsically shaped as a barrel.

These weren’t one of them.

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These drinks were produced under the name ‘Little Hugs,’ a label which implies warmth, affection, and love. The label is clearly a lie. One would only buy these things if they held a bitter hatred for their child (or didn’t know any better).

Generally speaking, there are certain food products that are made and marketed less for consumption, and more for allowing middle- or upper-class kids the opportunity to make relentless fun of their economically-disadvantaged peers. Little Hugs was one of those products.

They were a staple of my childhood, until I complained and got the ubiquitous Hi-C Ecto Cooler instead. I cannot, and could not, deny the allure of a beverage contained in a barrel. The very idea still appeals to me to this day. The actual contents of these deceptive little devils never failed to disappoint, however.

The agony starts with the very top of the barrel, sealed with a thin patch of metal. Whichever elements were used in the fabrication of this metal, rest assured that one of them was pure hatred. Some hideous marriage of metallurgy and the dark arts was responsible for the production of this seal, which was nearly impossible for any normal child to open within the limited lunch period they had to feed themselves. Neither 3M nor NASA could hope to produce an epoxy as strong as the hideous barrier keeping some innocent tyke from their hoped-for liquid refreshment.  Often, explosives had to be employed, or, failing that, a teacher. One way or another, the removal of the seal would unleash one of the plagues upon the earth. Worse yet, it would allow access to the drink inside.

When one lifted the barrel to their lips, they would subject themselves to the taste of a libation that could be described in charitable terms as Hitler’s Backwash (which may have been an actual flavor). When one drinks fruit juice, one expects that perhaps there would be fruit juice within the fruit juice. If not, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect that the liquid one was consuming at least taste like the named fruit.

Little Hugs juice tasted like a description of fruit, a formula engineered by someone’s uninformed idea of what fruit should taste like. “Huh. Durians. Um … it’s kind of … tangy? I suppose? And there’s a sweet part, I guess? I mean, I’m just looking at a picture, I’ve never had one .” They had a taste all their own, and by that, I don’t mean “They had a unique taste,” I mean that they basically tasted the same. Orange, for example, tasted like Little Hugs. Fruit Punch tasted like Little Hugs. Grape tasted like purple, and so on.

To be fair, it’s been nearly centuries since I was a child, and a spoiled one at that. My parents strove to provide me with the most nutritious, and tastiest, lunch items as I was growing up, so perhaps time and a matured palette have colored my opinion of the Little Hugs brand. They are still around, after all, so clearly somebody’s buying them, and possibly even enjoying them. If you’d like to learn more/subject yourself to the Little Hugs experience, just click here.

Kev


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