Mother’s Cookies Closes & The Sadness For Products I No Longer Have

Mother’s Cookies is closing. If you’re not from California, you might not realize what a staple they are to many here. Seeing them go, I feel a sense of loss. Something you just depend on having, knowing will always be there, can go poof in the course of a day.

I know. They’re just cookies. I know, in a time when people are watching their savings go poof due to the current economic meltdown, who cries for the loss of a cookie? When actual people we know live and die, sadness over a material item, a foodstuff?

Well, it’s not crippling sadness. Life goes on. But maybe we expect products to endure no matter what. We know that no one lives forever, but things should endure, right? And to have things you want, things you love, your comfort foods go away? With all the other losses in life, don’t take our comfort foods too.

When I was a kid, I loved Taco Bell Bellbeefers. These were like taco hamburgers, a taco on a soft bun. When I had my tonsils out and could eat solid food again, the first thing I had was a Bellbeefer.

They don’t make Bellbeefers any more. One day, they were gone. For a time, we had a Naugles near us where you could get a similar Bellbeefer-type taco hamburger. It wasn’t quite the same. Then Naugles went away, as well.

I wish Bellbeefers were still around. Apparently, I’m not the only one. A search for Bellbeefer brought up pages like this one where others wished they’d come back. I remember as an adult many years ago coming across a Taco Bell that was still selling them. I bought two with delight and wished somehow they’d come back everywhere. Apparently if I trek out to El Monte, I can find a Taco Bell still selling them. Maybe I will.

In the store tonight, I saw that Snapple is apparently selling flavored waters. Maybe that will help Snapple grow again and if so, maybe I can have Diet Kiwi Strawberry again. I started doing web development right at the time Snapple was in its heyday. Our small office stocked Snapple for everyone, and I really enjoyed Diet Kiwi Strawberry. Great flavor, low calories.

Then it went away. Slowly. It was a slow death for me and Diet Kiwi Strawberry. Fewer and fewer stores had it. Eventually, I could only find it on occasional trips to New York. And then even there, it disappeared. I even wrote Snapple last year, asking if anyone still carried it. I was told my local store should have it, but of course, they didn’t. Similar to my Bellbeefer experience, in a small store on Catalina Island last year, I found some. Maybe they still have more, but it’s quite a hike to get out to Catalina just for the drink. And looking at the Snapple web site just now, it’s listed as discontinued.

Now Mother’s? Just when I’ve moved back to California and can have them again? OK, I didn’t eat them that much. And I always felt bad when having the cookie parade pack that I ate the chocolate cookie creams and the chocolate chip ones first, then maybe ate the ones they are most known for, the pink and white frosted circus animals. And the plain vanilla ones, well, they just didn’t get eaten. But it was harder and harder to find bags of just the ones I liked. And apparently, that’s due to Mother’s economic woes.

The San Francisco Chronicle says that after 92 years, they’re filing for bankruptcy and closing. Too expensive to make them any more, it’s said — fuel and ingredients cost too much.

I remember when Coke pulled “old Coke” and like many others, I started hunting down the old formula and hoarding it, feeling happy yet sad with each remaining can I drank. I’ve got five bags of Mother’s that I bought on Friday packed away. I’m sure I’m not the only one buying them up. There’s a lot of love out there. I could get more, but it’s not worth the bother. Eventually, they’ll be gone. Why try to stretch out the inevitable?

Just cookies, I know. But if we can’t depend on our cookies, our Bellbeefers, our Diet Kiwi Strawberry being there, what can we depend on?

Here are some old Mother’s TV commercials:

And maybe I’ll buy one of these T-shirts that I read about to remember them by.

Postscript (July 7, 2009): I was amazed to see Mother’s Cookies back in the stores recently! In fact, I’ve gone through a bag of Iced Oatmeal. Turns out I missed seeing that Kellogg’s bought the trademarks and recipes. Now the cookies are turning up back on shelves throughout the West Coast.