Ask those who know me well what I most like to eat, and they’ll all tell you the same thing: Pizza Shapes. My love of the polygonal snacks is so well known that I’ve on occasion received Pizza Shapes as gifts for significant milestones. I can “put away” a box of Pizza Shapes at a speed that would make competitive eating champ Takeru “The Tsunami” Kobayashi nod in impressed recognition.
Until yesterday all of this information should have been read in the past tense, as Arnott’s meddled with their classic flavours earlier this year. Quoting an obscure and probably apocryphal survey of “Shapes fans”, the biscuit giant declared that Shapes-eaters wanted more flavour and fewer “bits”, and launched “New And Improved” versions of Barbecue Shapes, Pizza Shapes and Chicken Crimpy (the mysterious Savoury Shapes were left untouched), none of which tasted anything like the Shapes they purported to be.
“We know that people don’t always appreciate change, but we think we’ve made the best Shapes yet,” a spokeswoman told Fairfax at the time, to gales of customer dissent.
In fact, I contributed to that gale myself, leaving an impassioned plea for Pizza Shapes classicism on the Arnott’s Shapes Facebook Page (but not before recording a seven-snap Snapchat story in which I finally tasted the new recipe).
“There may well be a ‘pizza’ on this blasted earth that tastes like this, but the point of Pizza Shapes is that they weren’t attempting to imitate the ‘bold’ flavours of a post-MasterChef culinary milieu, or even actual pizza of any era or in any incarnation,” I wrote, tears stinging my eyes.
The original Pizza Shapes recipe was, and has always been, a classic of Australian innovation; up there with the black box flight recorder and the Victa mower. This new flavour is a tragedy on par with the time my late cat crawled under the bed and vomited on my Barbra Streisand scrapbook.
In other words, the news that Pizza Shapes are to return to their original recipe (well, in “Original Flavour” boxes; the “new and improved” blight on God’s creation will remain available for those with a jones for acrid tomato paste top notes) is Great News indeed.
As someone who has spent a good deal of time overseas and who fancies myself as a bit of a snack-related diplomat, Pizza Shapes were always one of “those” cornerstones of Australian cuisine.
Like the lamington, pavlova, Election Day sausage and certain Big M flavours, they are a snack that has almost no international equivalent, and a flavour almost impossible to describe when curious overseas friends would inquire, eyes wide, “What do they taste like?”
As my Facebook plea to Arnott’s detailed, it’s not “pizza” flavour, it’s “Pizza Shapes” flavour. Long may they reign, and may New And Improved Pizza Shapes eventually die on the way back to their home planet.
But now that we’ve brought about this revolution and reversed the red hot gears of late snack capitalism, what other long lost foods and flavours can we manifest? Don’t forget, there was a dark time, pre-2012, when we thought Egg Flip Big M might never return. Might I suggest we move on to the next most pressing item of Australian snack food business: bringing back the Mint Choc Wedge.
Ben Doherty: The Monaco Bar
Forget the Eureka Stockade, disregard the Franklin River protests, future generations of school students should, nay must, learn that the “Bring Back the Monaco Bar” campaign was, without question, the single greatest democratic action in the history of this country, perhaps of human civilisation. This was the power of the people in all its menacing and self-interested glory. Peter’s was our creamy, biscuit-covered Bastille and we stormed it. Now that the Monaco Bar has been restored to the pantheon, it doesn’t mean I’ll want one every day, but I sleep better at night knowing that, should I choose, I could.
Warren Murray: the Polly Waffle
The youth of today need to know just how good a turd-like piece of confectionery can taste. A chocolate coating over a biscuity tube containing marshmallow. What’s not to like?
Calla Wahlquist: vanilla Paddle Pops
Affection is not for the product themselves, which are as dull as an ice cream can possibly be, but because they are the currency of fictional bets in my family and it’s nice to think I could one day collect on all the times Dad bet me a vanilla Paddle Pop and lost. I’ll take 250 really boring ice creams, thanks.
Helen Davidson: Toobs
Can there be higher praise for a food than someone eating an entire packet despite knowing it will make their tongue burn for the next two days?
Apparently Shane Warne is also a fan of Toobs:
Miles Martignoni: Pringles
They changed them recently. The cans are now too small for me to uncomfortably jam my hand into them. I’m sure the chips are thinner too, the texture is totally different and doesn’t have that satisfying crunch.
Scott Borcherdt: Kettle’s Herb & Spice
The best Kettle flavour ever … closely followed by Chilli (which was also discontinued, then brought back in 2012).
What’s your favourite food or flavour has been discontinued, modernised or had its flavour intensified? What would you bring back?