HOW THE CHEEZ DOODLE WAS BORN
Since their discovery in the 1930s, Cheez Doodles have made a place for themselves in the snack food industry and in Americans’ hearts (and stomachs). Throughout their evolution and ever-growing popularity, Cheez Doodles have always retained their original integrity (and recipe!). Where Do Cheez Doodles Come From For those who may not know what they are, Cheez Doodles are the remarkably satisfying puffy, crunchy cheese-coated snack foods that children and their parents have been craving for more than 60 years. For those who have eaten them, did you ever pause to wonder, where Cheez Doodles come from? The Birth of the Cheez Doodle As it turns out, the birth and subsequent evolution of Cheez Doodles is fascinating, and like all good stories, it starts with a nearly completely different motivation (an iconic snack food was not the original goal). In this case, the dream belonged to one Morrie Yohai of Long Island, New York who – at the time of the Doodle’s discovery – was president of his father’s company, Old London Foods. Yohai’s company claims responsibility for other classic favorites like Melba toast and the ice-cream cone. Old London was wondering what salty snack they could create next to satisfy America’s need to snack at the same time agronomists were looking for more effective ways to produce cornmeal-based animal feed. It was a happy accident that they realized when their machines processed corn meal (also the key ingredient in Cheez Doodles) under high pressure, they got the tubular shape, resembling the Doodles we all know and love today. Since then, many more steps have been added.
Here’s how the puffed Doodle-making process works:
• Water and cornmeal are mixed together at a high temperature
• The resulting Doodle base is pushed through a machine which cuts out the doodles • During the process, the water boils forming steam
• When the mixture hits the air, because of the pressure build up, the steam immediately causes the mixture to puff forming what is known as a collette (or a doodle).
Yohai’s team quickly learned the right level of flavorings and cheddar cheese to add after baking the tubular snacks. Cheez Doodles hit the market in the 1950s, and our hands have been coated in delicious orange-colored cheese dust ever since. The end, right? Well, not quite.
The Evolution of the Cheez Doodle
• 1950s: Elvis Presley wasn’t the only thing shakin’, rattlin’, and rollin’ Americans during this idealistic time in our nation’s history; the Cheez Doodle was also doing a fair job of rocking everyones’ taste buds.
• 1965: The Cheez Doodle’s popularity is evidenced by Borden Condensed Milk Company’s decision to purchase the Cheez Doodle’s company, Old London Foods. During the merger, Cheez Doodles were assigned to then-Borden affiliate, the Wise potato chip division (Borden’s acquisition of snack-food innovator Wise took place in 1964). Wise’s own Crunchy Cheez Doodles were created in the late 1960s.
• 1994 & 2000: In 1994, another company bought Wise and in 2000 Wise changed ownership. Today, Wise Foods is part of Arca Continental, S.A.B. de C.V. Through it all, the Cheez Doodle has consistently remained a top-selling product.
• Today: Wise still makes the same Cheez Doodle using the same original recipe used since its origins. In the course of its history, the Cheez Doodle has expanded to many flavors including these oldie-but-goodie discontinued flavors: Jalapeno Cheddar, Ranch, Barbecue, Mac-n-Cheese, Star Spangled Doodles, Doodle Heads and Croc-o-Doodles, which were shaped like crocodiles.
Flavors available today include:
• Crunchy Cheez Doodles (this is a crispier version of the puffy classic) • Fiery Limón Fusion Crunchy Cheez Doodles • White Cheddar Puffed Cheez Doodles
• Cheez Balls (the same delightful puff in a bite-size ball shape)
• Honey BBQ Puffed Cheez Doodles
• Hot ‘n Honey Puffed Cheez Doodles
• Jalapeno Poppers Cheez Balls
Through it all, Wise Foods has continued to sell the classic Cheez Doodles made with cheddar cheese. Doodle Fun-Facts You may have been surprised at the continual use and integrity of Cheez Doodles’ original recipe, the creative process behind its origins, as well as its evolution. However, the Cheez Doodle isn’t out of surprises yet:
• The Pennsylvania factory produces 220 Cheez Doodles every second
• 15 million pounds (equal to 1,000 African elephants) or nearly 7 billion Doodles are produced a year
• It takes 10 minutes for a Cheez Doodle to go from start to packaging (talk about sealing in freshness!) • March 5 is Cheez Doodle Day
• The Cheez Doodle has its own website (with sound) where you can get Doodle products, learn more about the Doodles, and get to know the Cheez Doodle Dudes (they also have their own Facebook page) for Doodle fans. Yes, Cheez Doodles have grown from their beginning in the 1930s; they’ve come a long way with new flavors and their own website. Through it all, they have retained their real cheddar cheese integrity and original recipe, which is what fans love most about them. Thankfully, there are no plans for any of that to change.