Guilty Pleasure

I heart Kool-Aid.

Kool-Aid1

I know. People make fun of it. People consider it gauche. But I heart Kool-Aid. Always have.

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Did you know that from August 11-13, 2006, in Hastings, Nebraska, you can take part in the exciting Kool-Aid Days Festival? Richie Havens will be there (hey, and he was at Woodstock). Kool-Aid Man will be there, too. For only $2.00, you can purchase your own collectible Kool-Aid Days Kool-Aid mug, with which you may have all the Kool-Aid you want to drink from the 16 flavors that will be served at the Festival.

Sixteen flavors. That means, in all likelihood, all the “regular” flavors Kool-Aid currently has on the market (Tropical Punch, Cherry, Grape, Lemonade, Pink Lemonade, Strawberry, Lemon-Lime, Black Cherry, and Orange) plus the seven, harder-to-find, “twisted” flavors (Watermelon/Cherry, Strawberry/Kiwi, Strawberry/Starfruit, Berry/Cherry, Berry Blue, Strawbery Lemonade, and Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade). There are three other flavors, but they are the color change flavors, which I sort of doubt will be featured at the festival.

A packet of Kool-Aid mix makes 2 quarts when mixed with water and one cup of sugar. (I know many will no doubt see the irony in the fact that our Kool-Aid is always made with organic, unrefined sugar. But surely the organic sugar cancels out the artificial colors and flavors, right?) First, I fill the container about 1/4 of the way full with warm water, then I dissolve 2 cups of sugar in the water, stirring to make sure there are no undissolved granules. Then I mix in 2 packets of Kool-Aid mix, stirring well, and then I add enough cold water to make a gallon. We’ve found that mixing various flavors together yields nice results, such as:

1 packet of Lemonade, 1 packet of Orange
1 packet of Cherry, 1 packet of Lemonade or Pink Lemonade
1 packet of Strawberry, 1 packet of Pink Lemonade
1 packet of Lemon-Lime, 1 packet of Lemonade (This one tastes like Hi-C Citrus Cooler, which I used to love as a child.)

I find Lemon-Lime Kool-Aid by itself (that is, not mixed with Lemonade) to be virtually undrinkable, although it does bring back memories of my childhood and VBS at church in the summer, at which we always seemed to have Lemon-Lime Kool-Aid and butter cookies (the ones with the hole in the middle) for snack time.

Another thing I really love about Kool-Aid: right now at Super 1 it’s $0.20 a packet, and last week it was on special for $0.10 a packet!

(Kool-Aid has gotten a bum rap over the years because of its association with the Jim Jones “People’s Temple” cult and the mass suicide involving a poisoned batch of grape drink. But, that wasn’t Kool-Aid: it was a knock-off brand called “Flavor Aid.” That’s a sure sign that you’re in a bad cult: when they won’t even buy “real” Kool-Aid to cover up the taste of the poison they’re giving you.)

Kool-Aid3

I miss Raspberry Kool-Aid. (Note–I’m not taking about Blue Raspberry. Eww. I don’t like drinking anything that is the exact color of Windex. No, I’m talking about the regular, raspberry-colored Raspberry.) It was one of the six original flavors first introduced in 1927 (along with Cherry, Grape, Orange, Lemon-Lime, and Strawberry) and reportedly was also the favorite of Kool-Aid’s inventor, Edwin Perkins. They stopped making it sometime in the 1990s. Sure, they have some blue raspberry combinations, but they’re not the same. Raspberry Kool-Aid was the best! Tangerine is really good too, although it’s usually only found where there is a large Hispanic market (which explains the bilingual package).

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Not all flavors are equally yummy, though. For example, at some point they made a Root Beer flavor, which sounds absolutely horrid to me.

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Kool-Aid phenomenon I’ve never seen: my wife says she remembers seeing children walking around with packets of Kool-Aid mix, sticking their fingers in it and sucking on it. I remember the candy called “Fun Dip” which had a white candy stick that you could dip into a sour powdery substance, but I never saw anyone do this with just regular ol’ Kool-Aid. My wife tells me that, for whatever reason, the Kool-Aid in question was always red (whether Cherry, Tropical Punch, Strawberry, or what have you). Has anyone else witnessed this phenomenon?

Any others who share this guilty pleasure? Any good Kool-Aid recipes out there? (I once read of a man who makes “adult” Kool-Aid involving ginger ale and gin.) Any flavors you miss? (Purplesaurus Rex, anyone? How ’bout Sharkleberry Fin?)

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About revjatb

I am a father of six who is trying to do his best! My interests are varied. I have one blog, KnowTea, that is primarily focused on liturgy and worship and another one, Bengtsson's Baking, that is about, well, baking! I hope you enjoy both of them, and if you have any questions, please contact me!
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21 Responses to Guilty Pleasure

  1. cancerman says:

    We live in a largely hispanic neighborhood. How much tangerine Kool Aid can I put you down for?

  2. Brad B says:

    Lemon-Lime is actually the Flavor of Choice at our house. I’m not a big Kool-Aid fan, but Adrienne and her sisters are…so we always have a pitcher ready. It’s typically the “Green Kool-Aid” (Freiss-sister-ese for Lemon Lime).

    I remember trying Sharkleberry Fin and it was pretty nasty – that’s probably what turned me off finally to the stuff.

    I know lots of people who have “dyed” their hair temporarily with Kool-Aid mix. This one blue-haired guy boarded the bus in 7th grade smelling like Blue Raspberry.

  3. RevJATB says:

    Hey, if you find some, I’ll take 10 or so. As far as I can tell, this stuff never expires. (Of course, it also doesn’t stay on the shelf long enough ’round here to have a chance to expire.)

    One flavor I’m not a big fan of: Tropical Punch. That’s because I like Hawaiian Punch a lot, but only the real kind with 5% fruit juice (the other 95% industrial waste, do doubt). None of the powdered mixes are nearly as good as real Hawaiian Punch.

  4. Rosie says:

    Oh cool….how do you suppose one dyes one’s hair with Kool-Aid?
    Not that I would ever do that…*ahem*

  5. John,
    Do you remember a cheap knock-off version of Kool-Aid that was sold in the early to mid-70’s called Monster Mix? That was so nasty, I can still taste the after taste.

    Mark

  6. RevJATB says:

    Don’t remember Monster Mix, but we did drink plenty of Funny Face, which was Pillsbury’s answer to Kool-Aid. They always had lots of offers for stuff you could send away for in the mail. My mom still has some of the Funny Face plastic mugs I got through the mail. (Goofy Grape and With-It Watermelon, to be precise.) The children play with them in the bathtub when they’re at Grandma’s house.

  7. Vrouw_Jonker says:

    Wow, Funny Face: now that sparks some major olfactory, visual and gustatory memories!

  8. LOL,

    Chinese Cherry?
    Injun Orange??

    Wow they were so culturally sensitive back then. hehehe.
    Mark

  9. Sara says:

    does anybody remember Kool-Aid points? every packet had these little squares you could cut out that were worth a point apeice and then you could send them all in and get ridiulous Kool-Aid shwag. i was obsessed with the prospect of doing this, but my mother was pretty anti-Kool-Aid and we almost never had it around the house.

    also, yeah, VBS snacktime . our church always did orange, to the extent that by the time we were older and volunteering rather than attending, my brothers and I started referring to orange Kool-Aid as ‘Jesus Juice’. Orange Kool-Aid and Big 60 cookies.

  10. Brad B says:

    Big 60 Cookies…YUM! OMG, the hydrogenated oils made them so so so good! No Winn Dixies around here anymore, though….sigh.

  11. Adrienne says:

    Ok, people, step back, real Kool-aid fan coming through. I am a fan to the point that I didn’t even know I was a fan. I thought everybody was. I honestly thought every fridge in America contained the basics of milk, juice, tea, and kool-aid. Cokes were a special occasion drink for us. Friday nights with pizza, parties, stuff like that. But Kool-aid was all the time. We have a dark red, now very worn, Tupperware pitcher that has been the Kool-aid pitcher in my parents’ fridge for some 20 years. I want to steal that pitcher to have at my house, but I honestly think one of my sisters, both of my sisters would each rip off one of my arms and then proceed to beat me with the bloody ends.
    I don’t like any of the ‘red’ flavors. Sharkleberry was ok, but Purplesaurus Rex was a big favorite. I really miss that one. Now I make my own. Just mix Purple (Grape) and Lemonade and you come pretty close. We were terrible about calling them by their colors and not their flavors. I don’t know why.
    We kept the empty packets and racked up points. We had a Kool-aid man shaped pitcher and several plastic mugs. I wonder what happened to those anyway? The packets still have points on the back of them. I have an empty cannister that is full of packets right now. I will have to go to the website for Kool-aid and see what I can get!

  12. Sara says:

    oh man i wanted that Kool-Aid Man pitcher soooo bad…

    and sweet tea, how i love you now that i am in exile across the mason-dixon line. i actually got into a minor domestic altercation last night with my roommate over his total disgust at the notion of iced tea (he is from the UK and they have ‘opinions’ on the proper temperature for a cup of tea). he actually had the nerve to ask me to get my own pitcher for it if i’m going to keep it stocked in the fridge, because he’d rather keep ice water in the one i’m currently using. the nerve! relegating the wonderfulness known as sweet tea to its own little beverage ghetto!

  13. Sara says:

    this is definitely not rated PG, and i’m not sure how the author’s childrearing decisions stack up with any of yall’s. but i just clicked over to one of the other blogs i read and it was fabulously apt!

    http://smartypants.diaryland.com/070306.html

    thought yall might get a kick out of it. though please know that the author has diabled comments and really doesn’t welcome emails regarding her unorthodox parenting choices.

  14. cancerman says:

    I remember Goofy Grape.

    At boy scout camp we had something called cragmont. It was rumoured to have been discontinued because it caused cancer.

  15. RevJATB says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised. There were a lot of products in the ’70s that contained cyclamate, which was pulled from the US market because of cancer concerns. (It is still used in Europe, however. It’s what makes Coke Light better than Coke Zero.)

    Funny Face was originally formulated with cyclamate, but Pillsbury reformulated it to contain good ol’ sugar after cyclamate got banned.

    There was also a cyclamate-containing Jello-like substance called Mr. Wiggle. I don’t know why all these calorie-free things were aimed at kids instead of adults.

    Adrienne, the Kool-Aid pitcher is a real treasure! And I can understand your calling the Kool-Aid flavors by their colors: after all, there is absolutely no cherry juice in Cherry Kool-Aid, but there definitely is a lot of red.

    We arrived at my parents’ last night, and lo and behold, there on the side of the bathtub were the Goofy Grape and With-It Watermelon plastic mugs. Funny Face lives (sort of)!

  16. RevJATB says:

    Mark, my wife tells me she does remember Monster Mix. I don’t remember it. Could it have been a Kroger thing? I only axe because we did not have a Kroger in B’ham when I was a kid, but you all did and so did she. Just wondering.

  17. John,
    I think it might’va been a Kroger thing. I know you had a “Winn Dixie” though.

    MC

  18. RevJATB says:

    Yes, but not by choice. 🙂

  19. RevJATB says:

    Cancerman,

    I googled Cragmont and it turns out it was Safeway’s house brand of Kool-Aid knockoff.

    Google “Cragmont Drink Mix”, and you can even find a picture, if you’re interested in that sort of thing.

  20. ashley says:

    does anyone recall Kool-Aid’s Sunshine Punch? I crave that circa 1981-2 flavor all the time, especially when pregnant. I wish the would bring it back so my kids could taste it. My two cents: Sharkleberry Fin- no. Purplesaurus Rex-yes

  21. RevJATB says:

    I don’t know if I remember Sunshine Punch or not. Was it kind of like Sunny Delight?

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