Trader Jon’s is beloved for its unique, often quirky products, but it is also notorious for suddenly, and without explanation, discontinuing an item of which people have grown fond. In fact, it is not too much to suggest that every “TJ’s” regular customer has at least one particular item that, to this day, they cannot forgive the chain for eliminating. When you think about it, there is something abusive, and even sadistic, about the company’s capricious tendency to slap its most loyal patrons in the face and deny them the very products that have won their business. One is tempted to ask, Just who the fuck does Trader Jon’s think it is? It’s bad enough trying to find a parking space at some of their locations. Do we also have to live with the plunging, nausea-inducing fear, every time we return to the store, that the thing we most look forward to getting might be gone? Look, never mind. No, forget it, it’s fine. Here are eight products we hope they bring back, although we’re certain that they won’t, especially after they read this and see how much we want them.
1. Boba Chai—We don’t really know what this is. It might be the name of a Jewish spaceship navigator in Star Wars—either that, or a kind of spiced tea with weird globules in it. In fact, that’s why we hope they bring it back, so we can determine once and for all what it is.
2. Pizza-Stuffed Taco-Stuffed Spring Rolls Stuffed with Hummus—Yes, it sounds terrible, but it wasn’t all that bad. Each discordant ingredient killed another, and by the time you worked out what was what, you were finished. The final result wasn’t so much a sense of satiety or pleasure as of accomplishment.
3. Candied Nut Quartet With Special Guest Keith Jarrett—This item came and went so long ago, we can’t quite remember whether it was a medley of sugared nuts or a special jazz compilation album with the legendary pianist. We have vague memories of either listening to it in a darkened room, or eating it in a normal kitchen. We know it came in a thin, round, plastic package, if that’s any help.
4. Olive Oil-Scented Olive Oil—This product—a triumph of redundancy—enjoyed a brief vogue around the time everyone discovered olive oil ice cream and recoiled from it in horror. As is so often the case, Trader Jon’s declined to publicize the details of its manufacture, but various authoritative food writers theorized that it was made by washing olives, prior to pressing, in a bath of olive oil-scented soap. We’ll never know—unless they bring it back, and even then, they probably won’t tell us how they make it, God damn it.
5. Samuel Parker Red Wine (“One-Clam Sam”)—At one dollar per bottle, this famously—or infamously—cheap red wine became an instant hit with people who liked cheap red wine and had one dollar. How they were able to produce, bottle, ship, and make a profit on such a thing has remained a mystery. Maybe it wasn’t really wine. Or maybe it never happened! Maybe it was all just a myth, that everyone “heard about” but never actually experienced. There’s only one way to know the truth: Trader Jon’s has to bring it back, which, ha ha, forget it.
6. Organic Spiced Shredded Quinoa Chip Slaw Kit—Organic quinoa was spiced and then pressed into chips, and then shredded, and packaged in a kit with some kind of edible paste and instructions to enable you to re-assemble the shreds into their former chip-like shape. You know what? We changed our mind. Don’t bring this back.
7. Trader Jonni’s Lasagna-in-a-Can—Don’t laugh.Or do laugh. But we actually loved this, back in the day. The secret was to open the can on both the top and the bottom, and then slide the contents out horizontally, and watch it unroll and deployinto something resembling a three-level lasagna like a rubber life raft self-inflating. We can feel ourselves getting our hopes up, just writing this.
8. Crunchy Spicy Cheesy Crispy Creamy Organic Gluten-Free Exfoliant—Why settle for an ordinary, ho-hum exfoliant, when you can pretend you’re having a zesty snack while exfoliating? Or at least that seemed to be the rationale behind this weirdo product. Anyway, it must have been popular, or else they wouldn’t have discontinued it. RIGHT?