Thursday, August 5, 2010

Cheez Doodles and Culinary Colonialism

Morrie Yohai, inventor of the Cheez Doodle, died this week.

The only problem is, he didn't invent this item, any more than Columbus "discovered" America (in light of the 18 million or so people living here when he showed up).

Like many stupid-yet-addictive mass market American snacks, the Cheez Doodle was a rip-off of a traditional foodway from another country - in this case, Brazil, where "
biscoitos de queijo" (bish-KWOY-toe djuh KAY-zhoe) predated Cheez Doodles and Cheetos by centuries. One bite of a good one will convince you that not only did this snack originate elsewhere, but that it was criminally dumbed-down in the translation (for one thing, they're made with yucca flour, rather than sawdust, or dioxin powder, or whatever the hell goes into Cheez Doodles).

The best I've ever had outside Brazil was found in Mt. Vernon, NY, at Padamina's Brazilian Bakery‎ (66 West Lincoln Avenue; 914-667-9101‎). Here are a few biscoitos from there:

Nearly all of America's inexplicable trashy snacks, which seemed to land out of nowhere in our supermarkets in the 1950's, were similarly bastardized, rebranded versions of foods prepared loads more deliciously elsewhere. Someday I'll build a web site cataloging a bunch of them (any suggestions for a site name?)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"sackofsnacks" (for the double meaning "plunder")


the brand management category is called "salty snacks" so "assaultedsnacks"

"bite" means copy in rap slang, "bitesbitten"

then that whole "NotYoNacho" sort of thing

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