When you think of Tang – if you think of Tang – you probably think of his association with the US space program in the 1960s.
The drink will always be linked to the golden age of mid-century space exploration, but NASA didn’t actually invent Tang.
Tang debuted in 1957 as a breakfast drink rich in vitamin C. Its selling point was that the powdered mixture was shelf stable and was touted as a healthier and more convenient alternative to fresh orange juice. (And while it can certainly be more convenient than ordering orange juice every morning, the first two items on Tang’s ingredient list are sugar and fructose.)
But General Foods, Tang’s original parent company, had contracts with the military for the production of rations and other food items, like instant coffee. (Fans of “Mad Men” will be delighted to learn that General Foods, later incorporated into Kraft Foods, also owned the Burger Chef brand from 1968 to 1982.)
General Foods’ advertising strategy has changed to capitalize on the popularity of all things space, and Tang has now become marketed as the astronaut’s drink of choice, as seen in this Tang ad collection through the decades.
But Tang is not just a relic of the space age. It’s still popular around the world, from South America to Asia, and produced in a number of flavors – including pineapple, mango, lemon, calamansi and its brand new Filipino flavor, Coco Plus Buko Pandan. Tang is also one of the most popular drinks during Ramadan in the Middle East, according to Mondelez International, the food company that now owns the brand.
Not only that, but home cooks around the world have shown their ingenuity by using Tang in dishes that go far beyond a simple breakfast stir.
Whether you’re looking for a blast from the past or looking for something new to experiment with, grab a box of Tang and whip up these fun and slightly retro recipes.
Tang Cream Pie
This nostalgic dessert has graced the tables of many church and community picnic potlucks since the 1960s, and its retro charm endures. The Sweet Flashback is one of those no-bake recipes familiar to anyone who grew up reading recipes from the back of a box.
The formula here is simple: Beat together Tang mixture, cream cheese, condensed milk, and whipped topping until fluffy, then refrigerate in a graham cracker crust. Pour in more whipped topping to take it on top.
Make a Semi-Homemade Creamsicle Pie this summer for a refreshing treat – optional vintage apron.
Tang foamy orange drink
For a Julius orange drink that will take you back to the 80s, trust the guys at Big Gay Ice Cream to treat you to a cool, frothy drink Tang infused milkshake that hits the spot. You’ll be transported to your favorite mall’s food court with just a sip; better to take a hot pretzel for the full effect.
Want to turn this drink into a cocktail? Just mix 2 tablespoons of white rum or orange vodka per serving.
Take away orange chicken
Believe it or not, a Tang reinforced version orange chicken is one of the official recipes promoted by Tang Pakistan. The addition of the fruity drink makes sense for this sauce, reinforcing the sweet and sticky aspects that make the dish a Chinese-American classic.
When you crave those crispy coated bites, you can make the Tang Approved recipe or simply substitute the orange juice in your favorite copy. take away orange chicken recipe with Tang.
Tang Ice Pops
If there’s one technological innovation that improves the lives of families every summer, it’s the humble but life-changing ice cream mold that allows us to create every fruity treat flavor imaginable.
Stir a pitcher of Tang and pour into any style of mold that works for you. Traditional or double stick bomb molds, silicone squeeze molds or push up pop molds will all do the trick.
If you want to add fresh fruit like chopped peaches, sliced strawberries, or whole blueberries to your pops, fill the molds with fruit and then pour in the liquid. For a creamier treat, toss Tang with vanilla or coconut Greek yogurt before pouring.
Tang and Lemon Ice Cream
No ice cream maker? No problem! This recipe for Tang lemon and orange ice cream uses a simplified method called semifreddo, in Italian for “semi-cold”. By making an easy pastry cream without eggs, then partially freezing it, mixing it, and then freezing it again, the ice cream gives a soft, foamy texture.
If you like the flavor of orange sorbet but the consistency of soft cream, this could be your perfect dessert.
Probably the most well-known Tang recipe, this hot drink is another of those community cookbook staples. It is also often called Russian tea, but it bears little resemblance to the strong tea served with lemon and sugar that was the drink’s original inspiration.
Instead, this sweet citrus tea blend has become an American standard. Proportions vary from recipe to recipe, but standard ingredients include instant tea powder, lemonade powder, Tang, and often cinnamon, cloves, and / or nutmeg for added spice.
Prepare a jar of homemade tea blend to keep in your pantry on cold days.
There is even Tang beer
Magnify Brewing in Fairfield, New Jersey, created a beer brewed with Tang as one of its limited editions in April. Big dough, a sweet and sour style beer, also contains real mango, pineapple and peach in its range of ingredients. The vibrant color and juicy flavor are deceptively reminiscent of tropical orange drinks from the ’80s and’ 90s, making it a grown-up version of an after-school treat.
As these recipes prove, Tang is an ever popular ingredient in kitchens around the world. Even after all these years, Tang remains, to quote another vintage advertisement, “for the astronauts and families of Earth.”