Taco Bell and Doritos, and by proxy their respective parent companies, Yum Brands (NYSE:YUM) and Frito-Lay owner PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP), like to play fast and loose with your blood pressure. They know you like it, too. What good is a fast-food meal unless you can physically feel a mound of processed beef and a mine’s worth of sodium forcing blood through clogged tubes in your heart?
That’s why the two have teamed up to deliver the crushing power of the Doritos Locos taco at Taco Bell. It’s a cheese-and-beef-filled taco wrapped in a taco shell made of Doritos. The powdered cheese flakes off in your hand and delivers a taste halfway between delicious and horrifying. It’s one of the great pleasures of 2012.
It’s also the latest food product in a long tradition of bizarre amalgamated foodstuffs. Sometimes, rather than make up some new confection to entice consumers, foodmakers find it’s more cost-effective to build a Frankenstein’s monster of deliciousness out of two pre-existing products. Here are five greats that preceded the Doritos Locos.
McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) doesn’t want you to have to choose which of its many processed breakfast items to cram in your craw. It wants you to eat them all — at the same time. The McGriddle was born to achieve this utopian dream of pan-breakfast enjoyment.
It’s an egg, cheese, and bacon sandwich on a biscuit, but it’s also pancakes since the biscuit is pumped full of syrup. Hawaii is the only place on Earth that got the full McGriddle experience, however: That state’s McDonald’s served the sandwich with Hormel Foods’ (NYSE:HRL) legendary Spam meat product. That’s right — Spam McGriddles.
The Luther Burger
Much-loved and imitated, this hamburger is covered with cheese and bacon even before it starts to kill you. But what makes it infamous is the bun — a fried Krispy Kreme (NYSE:KKD) donut. The Gateway Grizzlies Frontier League baseball team in Sauget, Ill., serves this puppy at its stadium. The burger on a donut was apocryphally popularized by the late Luther Vandross, hence the name.
Reese’s Puffs Cereal
Everyone knows that a growing child needs a massive bowl of chocolate in the morning, so Hershey (NYSE:HSY) and General Mills (NYSE:GIS) teamed up for this childhood obesity champion in 1994 — and it’s still on shelves today. Resse’s Puffs Cereal is a combination of chocolate-flavored and peanut-butter-flavored dehydrated corn puffs.
Chocolate Cherry Diet Dr Pepper/Berries & Cream Dr Pepper
First, let’s all agree that there are too many flavors in Dr Pepper Snapple Group’s (NYSE:DPS) regular Dr Pepper. The drink already had 23 flavors in it when it was introduced at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in 1904. These two variants, on shelves from 2006 to 2008, brought the flavor count perilously close to 30. While Berries and Cream rotted your teeth and increased your diabetes risk, Chocolate Cherry Diet Dr Pepper just potentially increased your risk of a having a heart attack, at least according to the Journal of General Internal Medicine.
PepsiCo makes the list twice thanks to the help of Suntory, its Japanese distribution partner. Suntory has released many Pepsi variations on a seasonal basis over the years, but few are quite as repellent as 2011’s Pepsi Pink. That’s Pepsi and strawberry milk in a single, wonderful bottle. Older readers may recall that Laverne in Laverne & Shirely drank milk and Pepsi concoctions regularly on the show. Leave it to Suntory to go the extra mile and add strawberry flavor.