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Do you remember Chef Boyardee Cosmic Kids?
Space-themed foods have always ranked high in my book. Sadly though, my Mother was kind of strict when it came to the foods I was allowed to eat, and while I would have loved any type of Chef Boyardee pasta, cosmic themed one’s most of all, she just wouldn’t buy them for me. She claimed that if I wanted pasta, she could put something together that was faster and more delicious.
Truth was, she could, but I still wanted some canned pasta for novelty. When the opportunity presented itself, usually at a friend’s house, I ate it with gusto, no matter what the flavor.
The 3 flavors available, in order of deliciousness, were:
Tomato Sauce with Meatballs
That’s right, the flavor of Chef Boyardee that I liked the most was the chicken flavor. I rarely got it, but when I did, I would eat it faster than a Neptunian gobbles up methane.
I know it is crazy and that everyone will tell you that liking the Chicken flavored is crazy talk, but it is still all I can think about when I see this commercial.
The Cosmic Kids were pretty cool. Although not particularly inspiring. What made them cosmic was their weird shapes, which were supposed to resemble little aliens, robots, and UFOs. They are pretty abstract versions of those things, but in a lot of ways, their abstract weirdness made them cooler. And for an 80s kid who loved Star Trek and Star Wars, my imagination went wild and they became very memorable.
Here is the copy that Chef Boyardee used when trying to sell Cosmic Kids.
New Cosmic Kids is a new lunch that tastes out of this world.
Cosmic Kids comes in three delicious flavors…tomato sauce, with juicy meatballs…and now in Chicken flavored sauce. A new taste treat your kids will love, any place or any time.
Cosmic Kids. Full of the goodness your little earthlings need with the TASTES THEY’LL LOVE.
Timeline of Cosmic Kids
The first appearance I can find of the mention of Cosmic Kids is way back in December 1982. It is mentioned in a newspaper advertisement during a Chef Boyardee sale. According to a trademark search, the first use of the term in commerce was in September 1982.
The majority of mentions of Cosmic Kids are in 1983 and 1984. You see a few mentions in 1985, but nothing beyond that, which leads me to believe that it was only manufactured from 1982 until 1985. The trademark was allowed to expire in 1990.
Chef Boyardee Atari 2600 Offer
In 1984, the video game crash was already many months old and the numbers of Atari 2600 Consoles sitting on shelves was high. One way that Atari and Chef Boyardee tried to move products was with a special offer.
With ten proofs of purchase and with $39.95 or 49.95, you could get yourself an Atari 2600 from Chef Boyardee. This might sound like a good deal, but it was not. By 1984, you could pick up an Atari 2600 at Sears for $44.99 and you wouldn’t need to cut labels or wait for it to ship.
Still, the offer was compelling, and I like that they are charging ten more dollars for Pac-Man as the included game instead of Asteroids. Even though, Asteroids on the Atari 2600 is superior to Pac-Man on that system.
Space Age Soup
While browsing on eBay I saw a few empty cans of Cosmic Kids for sale, they were out of my price range, but fun to look at (sadly they have been taken off eBay since posting this). On one of the cans, I was able to find and transcripe a recipe for a Space Age Soup you can make out of your Cosmic Kids. Here is how you make it with Comics Kids with Meatballs:
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons butter or margarine (melted)
2 cans Chef Boyardee Cosmic Kids with Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
2 cans Mexican style corn (drained)
1 can whole tomatoes (chopped)
1 cup water
2 tablespoons parsley (chopped)
In a large saucepan, sauté onion in butter until soft. Stir in Chef Boyardee Comics Kids, corn, tomatoes, and water; bring to a boil. Cover; simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Garnish with parsley before serving. Serves 8.
Chef Boyardee still makes fun-shaped pasta, but it has been over 35 years since we had a visitation from the Cosmic Kids. I would not bet money on their resurgence, but as long as people still remember them, I can always dream.