Thursday, October 11, 2012

Some Snack Food History...!

Since we all seem to like some snack food from time to time, I thought a little history of one of the favorites might be in order.

This piece of trivia was actually new to me, so I figured it was worth sharing! The information actually came from Dan Lewis over at "Now I Know!"

Disneyland, the iconic theme park in Anaheim, California, officially opened its gates for the first time on July 17, 1955. The park quickly became a cultural touchstone around the world. In 1959, Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet Premier, visited the United States and requested to visit the park; this request was famously denied. A few years later, the Shah of Iran visited the park and rode the Matterhorn roller coaster with Walt Disney himself. (There's even a video of the ride, replete with campy music, available here.) Disneyland bridged cultures in a way few others have.

Perhaps realizing the future value of an association with Disneyland, Charles Elmer Doolin, the founder and then-CEO of the Frito Company, sought to open a restaurant at the park just months after its opening. That restaurant, named "Casa de Fritos," strived to introduce Mexican cuisine (loosely defined) to a world of tourists (and to a lesser degree, locals) who typically did not have an opportunity to experience such food. The restaurant was probably more a marketing scheme than itself a moneymaker. Fritos-brand corn chips were the ubiquitous snack at the Casa --
according to a tribute site called "DaveLand" (which has many historic photos of the restaurant) there was even a "Fritos Kid" vending machine selling Fritos for a nickel. Doolin and company hoped that Casa de Fritos would introduce a new generation of consumers to their corn chips, and Fritos would be the one "Mexican" thing tourists would continue to purchase when they returned home from vacation.

As any Mexican restaurant would, Casa de Fritos sold tortillas. They did not make them on-site. Rather, they purchased them from a local food distributor named Alex Foods. It is a fool's errand to try and guess exactly the right number of tortillas needed for any given day, and one does not want to run out, so Casa de Fritos regularly purchased more than needed.
According to OC Weekly, at one point in the 1960s, one of the Alex Foods salesmen saw the wasted tortillas at Casa de Fritos and suggested that the chefs cut them up and fry them, turning them into chips. The chefs took the salesman's advice, added some Mexican seasonings, and gave them to customers.

They were a hit. By the mid-1960s, Arch West, then Fritos' Vice President of Marketing, noticed the popularity of the chips and approached Alex Foods about making them at scale, intending to produce them as a regional snack food. West and his team came up with a name for the chip -- a Spanish word meaning "little golden things" -- and found that their successes as Casa de Fritos were not only replicated, but exceeded. In 1966, these chips -- which we now know as Doritos -- were a hit nationwide.


Today, Frito-Lay sells
roughly $4 to $5 billion worth of Doritos each year.


Don't you just love food history? Only trouble is, this kind of history always makes me a little hungry! Now I need a snack!
Coffee on the patio this morning. Might need some shade, as the temps are going back toward the 90s!

11 comments:

Gorges Smythe said...

Interesting!

Phylis (N/W Jersey) said...

Who doesn't love Doritos??
Patio is fine, I'll bring a couple of bags and some dip!

Momlady said...

Mmmmmmmm....Doritos. You come up with the most interesting information!

Anonymous said...

I've wondered how Doritos got their name - now I know more. Thanks HermitJim.

Anyone else remember that hullabaloo about the Frito Bandito, (sometime in the 1970's I think). I remember laughing about that, people get bent out of shape over nothing!

linda m said...

I love Doritos, they are my favorite. Always wondered about their name. I still love the Frito Bandito. Not too warm here so I'm having my coffee inside.

Sixbears said...

Corn chips: excellent fire starter. They are greasy enough to burn well. You say people eat these things? :)

JO said...

I agree with Sixbears. And love food. But I don't like those and a few other kinds of chips the greese is awful.

But I will sit and have some coffee. Then off to run errands. Going to be a busy catch up day

HermitJim said...

Hey Gorges...
Glad you think so!

Appreciate the visit today!


Hey Phyllis...
Chips and dip...breakfast of champions!

Thanks for dropping by today!


Hey Momlady...
Pretty good snacking, I think!

Glad you found it interesting and also that you could stop by today!


Hey Anon 7:25...
People can always find something to ge4t5 bent out of shape over! Must be in our genes.

Thanks for coming over!


Hey Linda...
Wish we would get some of thew cool weather back again! I'm ready for it!

Thanks for the visit this morning!


Hey Sixbears...
Someone is eating a few...when sales are at 4 billion a year! Either that or starting a LOT of fires!

Thanks, my friend, for coming by today!


Hey Jo...
Guess the trip time is almost here! Must take a lot of getting ready!

Thanks, sweetie, for coming over this morning!

ladyhawthorne said...

I had no idea but these have always been my favorite junk food!

Dizzy-Dick said...

I used to eat them but we do not eat corn anymore.

Ken said...

...they were of course referring to the 'taco flavored'(original) doritos...all other varieties starting with 'nacho cheese' are new comers...