Back in 1621 when the Pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving in the New World, it's a pretty safe bet that they couldn't have imagined what that holiday would look like nearly 400 years later.
Heck, we're a little surprised ourselves. Things seem to be getting weirder every year—particularly the things we eat. And we're not talking just about the craze for deep-fried turkey.
Here's a smattering of some of the more unusual Thanksgiving-themed food products that we've come across. Some of them are enough to make us want to get back on the Mayflower and go home.
1. Thanksgiving Dinner Soda
We couldn't even drink this stuff if you put a Pilgrim-style musket to our head. Our guess is that no one could. But that didn't stop the folks from Jones Soda from creating sodas that taste like Green Bean Casserole or Turkey and Gravy. The liquid dinner ingredients debuted in 2004. And as far as we know, Jones never tried selling them again. That's something to be grateful for.
2. Thanksgiving Gumballs
Even in the best of circumstances, gumballs tend to be a bit gross. When you see those gumball machines at the store, don't you wonder how many years it's been since anyone refilled it? But a decades-old, hard-as-a-rock gumball from the nastiest machine on earth has nothing on the Thanksgiving gumballs. These things—flavored to taste like turkey, cranberry and pumpkin pie—are sure to destroy your love for the traditional Thanksgiving meal. And does anyone have any idea what sort of artificial sweetener can mimic the taste of roasted turkey?
3. Pumpkin Pie Pop-Tarts
What is it with the Pop-Tart people? Don't they know that they once created the greatest food in the history of childhood? As Jerry Seinfeld says, the things were so amazing to children of the 60s that when we tasted them for the first time, the back of our heads blew right off. But over the years Pop-Tarts morphed into something cloying and silly—covered with frosting and sprinkles and who knows what else. And then came the cutesy flavors. like Oreo Pop-Tarts and Cookies and Cream Pop-Tarts. Because—why? Because people really want sweet treats that taste like other sweet treats? Perhaps. Certainly that's the only reasoning we can imagine why someone would create a Pop-Tart that tastes like Pumpkin Pie.
4. Thanksgiving Chips
There's a veritable epidemic of chips that are meant to evoke the tastes of Thanksgiving. And it's a global epidemic. As near as we can tell, Patient Zero was someone at Pringles who decided to create a Turkey-flavored version of the stackable chip in a can back in 2010. But chip companies around the world fell victim to the illness. Within a few years you could get Roasted Turkey Doritos (which come in a Christmas-themed bag, rather than a Thanksgiving-themed package) in Japan and Lay's Turkey flavored potato chips in Taiwan and Harvest Pumpkin Chips here in the land of the Pilgrims. We're completely perplexed by this phenomenon for the following reason: The world is already full of chips with a traditional Thanksgiving flavor that aren't gross. If you want chips with your stuffing, try sweet potato chips!
5. Turkey-shaped food gimmicks
There are thousands of these things out there. Allow us to mention just two of the stranger products we've come across. First, there's the Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream treats and cakes that look exactly like overcooked turkeys. Second, there's the Turkey Pooper Candy Dispenser. This amazing little bird excretes candy in what is meant to be a joke about how turkeys behave when frightened before slaughter. Because nothing says "holiday memory" like teaching the children in your family about how the birds void their bowels in terror when faced with death.
6. The Purple Okinawan Sweet Potato Kit Kat
Actually, we don't think this one is gross at all. If you read our piece about Halloween candy, then you know how we fell in love with the Green Tea Kit Kat. And now that we know there's a Purple Okinawan Sweet Potato Kit Kat in Japan, our hearts are a flutter. We love purple sweet potatoes. And we really, really love Kit Kats. So if you're going to be in Japan for Thanksgiving this year, we envy you.
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