The Allure of Garbage Food

By Jon Hillenbrand In Photography, Stories

Some of you will simply not be with me during this post.  But today I was talking to a friend of mine on the phone and she mentioned that she was going into a Costco to buy some food in good ol’ American portions.  So I excitedly asked her to look and see if they had Pepperoni Pita Stuffs.  See, for those of you who know me well, you know of the existence of my Unicorn Food (that’s the food that you loved, but which is no longer available to you).  The Pita Stuffs were discontinued years ago I’m guessing because I haven’t been able to find it since before the internet was big.  I know it’s pre-internet because I can’t find it on there anywhere.

Anyway, the Pepperoni Pita Stuffs was one of those microwave-only frozen food aisle items, like a Hot Pocket, made up of a curved pita filled with various meals which you would slide into a crisping sleeve (included) and microwave for about 2 minutes.  They had Gyros Pita Stuffs which was sickeningly gross because of the onions and peppers which never do well in the microwave and they had a vegetable something which was also disgusting.  But the Pepperoni Pizza version was addictingly fantastic.  Really, the appeal was its inconsistency.  Most of the time when you microwaved it, the cheese would remain frozen in the middle.  Actually, if you microwaved it past the melting point of most known metals, the inside of the damn thing would still consist of frozen tomato sauce and cheese shreds.  But once in a while, the microwave and the crisping sleeve would synchronize somehow and the thing would turn out perfect.  Then, the taste was amazing.  I don’t smoke, but you know in the movies when after the big gun battle the sweaty dirt-covered hero finally finds a cigarette after asking everyone for like 20 minutes, he sits on the ground of a trench, leans up against the wall, lights the pinched cigarette and takes a quick fast drag and lets out a deep long relieved and relaxed smokey exhale?  That’s how it tasted; absolute cool reliefy goodness.  The closest I’ve been able to find in terms of taste is the Pepperoni-only DiGiorno Pizza.  I think they are using the same sauce.

My friend didn’t sound convinced that this was a worthy Unicorn Food item.  But I assured her that it had the same allure as one of those microwave hamburgers you get out of hospital vending machines.  You slide that sticky clear plastic door open, pull out the mystery burger, microwave it up in that ancient microwave that all hospitals seem to have, the one with the dial instead of numbers.  And it has some sort of feeling…not like a burger, but more like a piece of slightly moistened cardboard, or like pressed cat food.  It’s really bad, but a week later, you are craving one like there’s no tomorrow.  My sister says that those foods contain the additive Addicto, which is something she made up.  But if it came out years later that Addicto or some other trade name for an addictive substance was being added to food, I would totally believe it.  Coke, Pringles, Doritos, Slim Jims, they all have it.  I guess anything you can get at 7-11 has it.

Anyway, Pepperoni Pita Stuffs are awesome.  If you find them, mail me a few boxes and I’ll send you a “Jon Hillenbrand’s Blog” T-Shirt.

  1. Clyde July 4, 2010

    Yeah totally and where did they go? I always loved the taco flavored pita stuffs. those things rocked 🙁 I hope that you can find some if so email me and let me know where they are KK thx

  2. Jon Hillenbrand July 7, 2010

    I know! I miss them. If I ever find them, I’ll post my findings here or maybe make a whole website dedicated just to them. 😉

  3. […] at me.  Perhaps the lesson is that I shouldn’t go to McDonalds because that’s the only fast food place around here that has a drive thru.  When I open my window to place my order, I get a […]

  4. DC from SC. May 11, 2011

    Well….I see I’m not alone in this world, Pita stuffs really did exist! I loved the Ham & swiss then when I couldn’t find it I bought the Gyros but to cook it, I had to cook the meat in a pan then with the grease from the meat I put the onions & peppers in, nuke the bread and assemble. They were really good that way. Seems like every time I really like a product, it goes POOF!

  5. […] you swallowed one.  If Addicto exists, there are many more products laced with it such as Coke, Pepperoni Pita Stuffs (discontinued) and a particular sandwich that a woman used to make for me when I was a kid.  Back […]

  6. Rhonda December 24, 2012

    I remember them and even though I haven’t tasted one in over 15 years, they are still my favorite food to this day. I always had to have some in the freezer… when I found out they were going out of business (because they started getting scarce), I called around to various grocery stores to make sure they had some before I came and bought every box they had… the melted cheese was the BEST and just talking about it brings back that wonderful memory…. My husband and sister-in-law have their own conspiracy theories on what happened to Pita Stuffs. My husband thinks they were running “Hot Pockets” out of business and they did something to make the company fall… my sister in law, thinks they had an ingredient in them that really did make them addictive because she would always laugh at me because I had so many in my freezer, until the day I got her to eat one.. then we would ride together searching for them all over town… she had even told me that one of the guys who worked in the freezer section said that they were on the top of the re-order list, because they always ran out so quick and couldn’t keep them on the shelves.. now, if they were one of the best sellers of their time, then why didn’t the company stay in business? So many questions…. I thought she was just being paranoid until my favorite headache medicine started disappearing. Excedrin was taken off the market because it had too much of an “addictive” medication in it, and it was reported by the makers of Advil because Excedrin was their number one competitor.. So, who knows… I sure do miss them though.


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