So Who the Heck Was Oscar Mayer?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Today's book, "Many of the most famous names in America today aren't names of actors, rock stars, or politicians, but brand names such as McDonald's, Maytag, Brooks Brothers, Chevrolet, and Jack Daniels. We don't summon up faces to associate with those names, all we see is the billboard on the side of the road or the logo on the side of the box. Somebody had to originate these companies and give them the household names they now have. So Who The Heck Was Oscar Mayer? tells more than 200 tales behind those household names."

I have mixed feelings about today's book. I didn't like the writing style at all, and thought that book could have been much more fun than it was, but I found the fun facts that I learned interesting. So it was an interesting subject, presented in a dull way. What a let down.

Fun facts:

  • Chef Boyardee (or as my Dad likes to call himself when he cooks, Chef BoyarWetzel) was started by chef Hector Boiardi. Before starting his now famous company, Hector Boiardi catered Woodrow Wilson's wedding reception. - I'm struggling now to get out of my head the image of Woodrow Wilson, dressed in a tuxedo, eating out of one of those individual serving size containers of Beefaroni. But the image just won't budge.

  • Gerber baby food was originally created after Sally Gerber, then seven months old, began to suffer from illness. Her doctor advised her parents to feed her strained fruits and vegetables, and a company was born. A company, by the way, that does NOT know what field my "baby's" food was grown in, despite the fancy talk they do on the commercial to try to convince me otherwise. And why was Gerber called in the first place? Let's just say that when your Dad owns a grocery store, and you sister works there as a teenager, and she gets really bored one night because there weren't very many customers . . . things happen . . . phone calls gets made.

  • Reese's (the unofficial sponsor of my childhood) were invented by Harry Reese in 1923. - Now the next time I read a book that takes place in the 1800s, I'm no longer going to feel sorry for the people in the book for having lived in that difficult time before indoor plumbing and electricity, but instead I will feel sorry for them for having to led sad, deprives, Reese-free lives. I personally wouldn't understand such a hardship since my childhood was filled with a never-ending supply of Reeses. My Mother used to hand them out like they were daily vitamins. And so, after reading about the history of the Reese company, I decided to share the information with my Mother and see if she was aware that Reeses have only been around since 1923. Her response, "Thank God I wasn't alive before then. I don't think I would have survived."

  • The Fisher-Price toy company was founded in 1930, and originally only made toys out of Ponderosa pine blocks. In 1949 plastic was substituted for the pine blocks in order to better keep up with the demand (and family rooms everywhere got a little bit uglier as multi-colored, clownish plastic toys ended up strewn from one end of the room to the next.) Despite how garish the plastic toys were, I still loved every minute of playing with them. And I was lucky, because I was a child during the golden age of Fisher Price - when they made giant waffle blocks that were big enough to make furniture out of when we played house, and plastic play food like peas that popped out of the pod and plastic cake you could actually frost, and a fake skillet that actually sizzles. Ahh, the good old days.

So there you have it dear readers, I have shared with you the most fun facts from the book so that you can save yourself the trouble of having to wade through the other 390 pages, which were, for the most part, rather dull.