We were quite heavy on the McDonald’s talk last week on the TRN Podcast, our Patreon page, and even here in Retro Ramblings Weekly. But before I move on to other topics, I wanted to revisit McDonald’s one more time to talk about one of their short-lived menu items that still gets me to this day. McDonald’s McPasta.
McDonald’s has tried a lot of off the wall menu items in their time. Some are fondly remembered like the McD.L.T., and others are still scorned to this day (I’m looking at you here Arch Deluxe). But a few products have come along that most of the population totally missed out on, and McPasta was one of them.
In 1990, McDonald’s decided they would try to add some entrees to their menu that weren’t hamburgers or Chicken McNuggets. They dreamed up this concept of McPasta dishes and roasted chicken legs and felt sure it would be a big hit. Before they released it to the masses though, they went the test market route.
A small area in New York was selected, as well as a chain of franchise stores in Northeast Tennessee for this new line of McPasta products. Fortunately, I lived in a part of southern Virginia where that franchisee had two locations, and they put the product in those two stores as well.
What they offered was a selection of Spaghetti, Spaghetti with Meatballs, Lasagna, and Fettuccine Alfredo. Each dish came with a garlic breadstick as well. They also decided to offer roasted chicken legs as a side item, as well as mashed potatoes. How those last two items fit into the McPasta lineup I’ve yet to figure out.
To be honest, the only one I ever tried was the Fettuccine…..and I thought it was awesome! For the six month period they were testing the line, it’s what I ordered on every trip to the golden arches. My Mom loved it too, and since my Dad was out-of-town a lot, she felt it was easier to just run to McDonald’s and pick up a couple of Fettuccine platters for the two of us instead of cooking, so I got to have the pasta goodness a lot.
Imagine my sadness one day when I went to order my favorite McPasta dish only to be told it was no longer available. I listened in horror as the lady at the counter relayed the info to my Mom and me that it had been a test product, and she had no way of knowing if it would be added back to the menu or not.
As the weeks and months passed by, I would continue to inquire about it on every trip to Happy Meal land. And every time I was disappointed. After a while, I came to the sad conclusion that McPasta wasn’t coming back at all.
For years I reminisced about it, only to find it strange when other people had no idea what the heck I was talking about. For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out why no one had even heard of McDonald’s McPasta. Then one day it popped into my brain and I searched it out on the internet. It was there that I discovered that it had been a test product with just a very limited release, and that’s why everyone thought I was crazy when I would bring it up.
To this day I miss that McPasta Fettuccine. But now I look back and realize that the stars were aligned perfectly for me to even have gotten to experience it in the first place. Some say it’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all. But for those people who say that to them I say they never loved McDonald’s Fettuccine Alfredo.
Things I Think I Think This Week
I think… that if you want a little more information on the McDonald’s McPasta line, you should check out this news article on it from The New York Post in 1991 that details the test market campaign for it. It also briefly mentions how they were testing a new pizza line as well.
I think… that Cobra Kai season 2 was really well done. The kids and I finished it up last weekend, and I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed the whole season. I may still like the first season a little better, but if there was a dropoff from season 1 to season 2, it was very slight. I’m going to reserve my detailed thoughts for a little bit though, as we are going to be recording a TRN Round Table Review podcast about it next week. If you want your thoughts on the season to be known, leave me a comment and we’ll include them in the show.
I think… that Pizza Hut is going in the wrong direction. Jeff tweeted me a photo of his pan pizza that wasn’t cooked or served in a big iron skillet like it always has been. It came to the table in a metal pan. Shame on you Pizza Hut. You’re better than that. Or, at least, you used to be.
I think… that I can start the healing process from where Pringles gave me the shaft with their Turducken Friendsgiving Feast last week. I finally found a can of their limited edition Roasted Turkey flavor Pringles, and they are excellent.
I think… that the once-famous Chicken Tonight line of sauces is back on grocery store shelves, but just under the Prego name. I saw these at the store last night, and that old jingle instantly re-entered my brain, and I spent the next 12 hours singing it over and over again. Now, I’m not ready to have the jingle playing on a loop in my head again but I’m certainly ready for the deliciousness that those sauces had back in the day. If you don’t remember, or have no clue what I’m talking about, watch this old commercial. It’ll probably come rushing back to you.
I think… that if you missed out on ordering an Ugly Halloween Sweater or winning our contest for a free one, then you’re in luck. We’ve partnered with Fun.com again to get you a wonderful discount code for ordering an Ugly Christmas Sweater! We’re also going to be giving one away, so keep your eyes peeled on TRN for those details. And actually, if you missed out on ordering a Halloween sweater, now will be a great time. When you consider that they have vastly discounted the Halloween sweaters, and you add in our exclusive coupon code, you can pick one up on the cheap for next year. Click here to visit Fun.com and automatically activate the coupon code.
I think… that I really want to watch the new documentary on YouTube, The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash. It looks really well done and being a huge fan of the Man in Black, I think it’s one I’d really enjoy. You can watch it for free with ads right now, or without if you have YouTube Premium. Give the trailer watch and see what you think.
I think… that the feedback I got for the first episode of our new YouTube series Was Pack Flashback was great. I look forward to bringing them to you every week, and the next episode features a card series that was near and dear to my heart, Doomsday: The Death of Superman cards from 1992 Skybox. If you missed the first episode, you can catch it here.
I think… that speaking of new YouTube series, I’ll go ahead and spill some beans here. For all you fans of the Netflix series, The Toys That Made Us, I hope you’ll join us in December when we drop the whole first season of our new series titled The Foods That Made Us. We’re going to be going through all the old foods that have been around for most of our lives, and the first season focuses on all the great Christmas junk food that we’ve come to love. The whole first season will drop all at once for your holiday binge-watching needs.
I think… that since I’m already talking about new stuff, I should tell you that I am so stoked for Adam’s new podcast to start in the new year. It’s called, “Wizards: The Podcast Guide to Comics“, and it’s going to take us all through the ’90s era of comic books as told from the pages of Wizard magazine. I was a huge fan of Wizard, and I can hardly wait to start listening to this.
I think… that since a few of you have asked about my Thanksgiving watch list, I’d share it here. Briefly, here are the old tv episodes and movies I try to make time to watch each Thanksgiving season:
- Son In Law – movie starring Pauley Shore
- Dutch – movie starring Ed O’Neill
- Planes, Trains, and Automobiles – movie starring John Candy and Steve Martin43
- The Bob Newhart Show – Over the River and Through the Woods, Season 4 Episode 11
- The Cosby Show – Cliff’s Wet Day, Season 6 Episode 9
- Newhart – Don’t Rain on My Parade, Season 2 Episode 6
- Newhart – Thanksgiving for the Memories, Season 5 Episode 8
I think… that this week’s Retro Ramblings is probably starting to run a little long, so I’m going to wrap it up for this week. But before I go, I’ll leave you with a classic Thanksgiving video to watch. It’s Adam Sandler on SNL doing his Thanksgiving Song live. It’s a yearly tradition for me, and I hope you enjoy it. See you next week.