The year is 1987, and the day is your birthday. You throw on your favorite Keds and biker shorts, feather your bangs, and head to McDonald's for a birthday blow-out with all your friends. The orange plastic cooler full of orange drink seems bottomless, as evidenced by the orange-tinged mustaches surrounding all of your friends' manic smiles. You feel like the center of the universe in your multi-colored cardboard crown. Now that you're a year older, you decide it's time to graduate from dipping your chicken nuggets in honey, to the more sophisticated barbecue sauce. After your mom serves the sheet cake and the party winds down, your friends all take a bag of McDonald's cookies as a parting gift as they walk out the door. You smile as you pick through the cookies in the shape of your familiar McDonald's friends: the Hamburgler, Ronald, Birdie. Best birthday ever.
If you're looking to recreate the magic, it turns out that a key piece of the formula can be found in an unexpected place. McDonald's discontinued their iconic cookies years ago, but the recipe seems to have resurfaced in the form of Benton's Animal Crackers, sold at Aldi. Legions of fans online swear that the tiny shortbread cookies, with just a hint of lemon flavor, are identical to the McDonald's cookies of the 1980's. I can attest that these cookies (my daily afternoon snack) are delicious, buttery, vanilla-y... so much more complex than your run-of-the mill animal cracker.
If it's the orange drink you're craving, not to worry. In 2021, McDonalds will bring back Hi-C LavaBurst (formerly Hi-C "Orange"), which graced the McDonald's menu for 62 years until it was discontinued in 2017. It is returning to the menu thanks to an online Change.org petition and a robust social media campaign. Maybe we all just need the nostalgia of simpler times right now.