Incredible memories of not-so-incredible edibles | Whale’s Tales

After more than 56 years, I can still smell and taste the rubbery things.

It’s a bit jarring to hear toys I played with as a kid referred to as “vintage.”

And surprising to realize that toys that sold for a few bucks back in the day now commonly fetch many more times that sum.

One more measure of serious time gone past. As if I needed another.

I found one of the more infamous of these toys of my kidhood for sale on eBay the other day. “Sealed Incredible Edibles,” the advertisement declared: “Disgusting Delicacies Series 1 Gross-eries Meal Pack.”

Remember those adjectives, “Disgusting” and “Gross-eries.” I’ll get back to them in a bit.

For those who may not know what I am rattling on about, Incredible Edibles was a Mattel toy that sold from 1966 until the early 1970s.

Once you opened the box and arranged your “kitchen,” you squeezed a chemical gel called Gobble-Degoop into a series of metal molds, which became a concoction you then baked in a device called a Super Gooper. After a minute or so in the heat, the glop emerged as rubbery, soft candy, shaped like flowers, worms, and insects.

Those “edibles” made an impression. After more than 56 years, I can still smell and taste the vile things. I am certain the little packets of Gobble-Degoop that we naîve and unsuspecting kiddies emptied into molds, baked and eased down our gullets contained chemicals that would not be acceptable today.

Mattel provided various flavors in the packets: cherry, root beer, cinnamon and mint. Tolerable. But don’t let that fool you. They also came in licorice (yecch!) and butterscotch (triple yecch!).

In 1968, Mattel added Kooky Kakes — small cakes you could bake and decorate with arms, legs and faces — using Gobble-Degoop and cake mixes. The cakes weren’t so bad.

I know the sets are collector’s items today — investments, and not for consumption. But I hate to imagine what the stuff in those “sealed” packets as advertised has turned into today when it could already gag a maggot when it was fresh.

Incredible Edibles earned a place in Whale folklore when the six Whale kids cooked up a giant sample for dad. My big brother, Jim, then got the bright idea to root around in the dark corners of the cabinets, where he found cough medicine, cooking sherry — and other ingredients that time or guilt has blotted from my memory — to enhance all that, um, deliciousness.

Thus, beaming, we presented our abomination to the old man. I am certain I saw a shudder rack the paternal frame when he beheld the thing, but danged if he didn’t eat it up. All of it. With a smile.

As he later confessed, it was “not too good.” No, I believe the word he used was “ghastly.”

“I think I felt the top of my head come off,” dad said.

On the flip side I remember with fondness undimmed by the decades a very different toy: Major Matt Nelson, Astronaut. Our star boy came with a space dome that mesmerized my 6-year-old self.

Neither of those toys passed the test of time, but other toys from that era did, including one of the best toys ever invented, Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots. Many happy hours we kids spent with family, friends and neighbors knocking each others’ plastic pugilists around until the heads popped up.

What are your memories of the toys of your younger years? Hope to hear from you.

Robert Whale can be reached at