Fritos, Snickers, Dr. Pepper and Texas

Being born and raised in Texas there are two things I can’t help doing and that’s eatin’ and braggin’, which combined into today’s topic … food and drink invented in Texas.

Charles “Elmer” Doolin was a confectioner in San Antonio, Texas, during the Depression. But when he first tasted a local version of fried corn chips, he was hooked. He bought the recipe for $100 and with the help of his mother and father, using various types of corn, he developed the famous clip in their kitchen. It is rumored that his mother, Daisy, loaned him the money to purchase the recipe by selling her wedding band. Doolin made it his life’s work to perfect the flavor of Fritos. He varied the recipe, created his own hybrid corn, and developed a conveyor-belt manufacturing until to make the chips more efficiently. Along the way, he also invented the Cheeto.

Two popular items were developed especially for the Frito included Frito Chili Pie, invented by Doolin’s mother, and chocolate-covered Fritos; which I must admit I’ve never tried and frankly not sure it’ll make it to my bucket lists of foods I want to try before I die.  Of interest, Elmer Doolin, by most accounts, was a vegetarian and avoided salt.

The Mars candy production plant in Waco, Texas, produces nearly all of the Snickers bars sold in America. The landfills of Waco produce nearly all the fuel used to heat the Mars plant. A program designed to harvest the methane gas produced naturally by garbage puts it to good use. As a result, Mars saves more than a half a million dollars a year, and the people of Waco get to breathe a bit easier. Mars also makes the famous Milky Ways and M&M’s, but not at this facility.

Also coming from Waco is our

famous soft drink, Dr Pepper. It was invented by a pharmacist in 1885. He had noticed that people loved the sweet smell of the soda fountain in the store and he was trying to capture that sensation in a taste.

By 1891, Dr Pepper was being produced at a bottling plant in Dublin, a few miles away, and it became a national hit in 1904 at the St. Louis World’s Fair.

Today, the Dublin plant still makes Dr Pepper according to the original formula with cane sugar instead of corn syrup. And readers, I didn’t make a mistake by not putting a period after Dr, since it was dropped by the bottling company in the 1950’s.

Waco’s Dr Pepper Museum is a storehouse of information and memorabilia about the soft-drink industry in general and the headquarters of the Free Enterprise Institute, which teaches students about entrepreneurship.

Now this is coming from a true blue Texan. Growing up, any soft drink used to be called a Coke … be it Dr. Pepper, root beer, 7Up or a real, honest-to-goodness, Coca-Cola.

It was probably frustrating for car-hops and waitresses to always have to ask, “What kind of coke, do you want?”

What is your favorite chip, candy bar or drink?

Since Valentine’s Day is approaching, I’ll give away an autographed copy of “Be My Texas Valentine” to one lucky person who leaves a comment.

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A native Texan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Phyliss Miranda still believes in the Code of the Old West and loves to share her love for antiques, the lost art of quilting, and the Wild West.

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39 thoughts on “Fritos, Snickers, Dr. Pepper and Texas”

  1. This was an interesting read. I grew up in the vicinity of Waco. A little town called Kosse about 45 min. away. We always asked for a soda. Then told what kind. I love Coka-cola, Snickers, and Fritos. But, I also love to snack on crunchy Cheetos. I didn’t realize until that these plants were in Waco. And, I love Texas. I would love to win this book with our Txas Bluebonnets on the cover. Bet it’s a good one. Hope all of you gals are staying warm and well. We are warm the majority of time here in the Houston area. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

  2. Love this, Phyliss–but your blog has given me the urge to munch. I think it was “a coke” growing up in UTah, too–but in my case it was really Coke.
    I love Fritos but try to avoid them since I could eat a whole big bag at one sitting. My current favorites are Triscuits and Diet Coke. Thanks for the fun memories.

  3. Interesting story about the birth of Fritos and Cheetos.

    I like Milky Way bars, Cheetos. I rarely drink a soda but when I do it’s Diet 7 UP.

  4. My first visit to Texas was this past Sept when I attended the ACFW writing conference in Dallas. The conference hotel was the DFW Hyatt Regency so we didn’t see much of the city, however, we went to Grapevine, TX, twice for meals. The first group settled on the Rain Forest Cafe, which was fine with me since we don’t have them up here in Canada, and my last visit had been 20 yrs ago at the Mall of America.

    But the 2nd night, we went to LOVE & WAR TEXAS and I sure enjoyed the experience. One of the girls said it wasn’t authentic Texas food because it had been Americanized, but I ordered the Tejas Platter because I wanted to sample. Although I’ve eaten the enchiladas from the frozen food section of the local grocery store, I’d never had a tamale or Texican Rice. It was a great meal and I still smile whenever I think of it.

    Well, except for the Root Beer. That’s my favourite pop/soda and when I asked for one, they said sure, they had it. I was expecting the Hire’s or A&W version, but what I got came in a bottle with a pinkish label. It was expensive and spicy. Definitely an aquired taste.

    And Snickers is my all-time favourite chocolate bar. So, it comes from Texas, eh. Fun.

  5. My favorite chips are cool ranch doritos, my favorite drink is coca-cola and my favorite candy bar is a snickers.

  6. I knew about Dr Pepper being a Texas original, but I hadn’t realized Fritos were as well. Cool.

    My favorite Texas confection, though, has to be Blue Bell ice cream. They didn’t invent it, but I’m pretty sure they perfected it. Soooo good.

  7. Hi Maxie, so glad you dropped by. When we were on on tour, Sister filly, Linda Broday, and I have visited Waco several times and loved it. I have a character in one of the anthologies who worked on the Waco Suspension bridge before he settled in the Texas Panhandle. We really enjoyed our visits there. As a matter of fact, our anthology “Give Me a Texas Ranger” was on exhibition on the Pop Culture wall, but neither of us have been there recently to see if it still is. Talk about a major honor. I love Coke and Cheetoes for sure. Never been too excited about a Snickers, but I have to have my Coke. I’m diabetic, so only one Coke a day for me. Maxie, got you in the drawing, so keep your fingers crossed that you win “Be My Texas Valentine”. Again, thanks for dropping by. Hugs, Phyliss

  8. Hi Stefanie D. Good to see you this morning. I can’t do without my Coke, but I’ve never acquired a taste for the Vinegar Salt Potato chips, although my grandkids have. But then I have three on a growth spirts, so they’ll eat anything that goesn’t eat them first! Have a Coke and some chips and enjoy your day. Big hugs, Phyliss

  9. I really enjoyed reading this post. I like fritos but don’t think I could ever eat them covered in chocolate.

  10. Wow, favorite candy/chip/soda….well, I didn’t get into my currently oval shape by being all that picky.

    And I’m dieting, which makes this just about the meanest post ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Shame on you, Phyliss.

    I’m a big Diet Coke addict and I drink several cans a day.
    Okay FOUR, are you happy? (or five)

    Candy? Hmmmm….Because of my diet when I really crave somethings sweet I often get a plain old Hershey bar and try to eat it very slowly, like over the course of hours.

    I fail and gobble it up too often.

    Chips? We always have tortilla chips around the house for two reasons.
    1) I don’t think they make great snacking (which doesn’t mean I can’t find myself snacking on them)
    2) We occasionally use them in recipes, nachos or tortilla soup.

    Best? I’m really fond of Lay’s Kettle Cooked Mesquite Barbecue.

  11. My favorite chips are Cheetos. They are messy, but yummy! I also like Diet Pepsi Wild Cherry and just about anything chocolate!

  12. My favorite soda is Coca-Cola, nothing tastes better than an icy cold one! It also brings me back to my childhood; when I was a little girl, we would go to a Two Guys store in the next town on a Sunday afternoon sometimes. If my sisters & I behaved while we were there, our parents would treat us to one from the soda machine. It was in a paper cup with shaved ice, it was the best! So whenever I drink Coca-Cola, I’m brought back to that sweet memory.

    I love any kind of candy bar that has nuts in it.

    As for chips, Lays Garden Tomato & Basil are my current favorite. For a really special treat, I love chocolate covered pretzels, which are the best of both worlds!

  13. Oh My! But reading this blog is killing me! I’m starving now, LOL.

    My favorites are:
    Diet Coke (I know, crazy with this kind of snacking, but seriously, I like the diet coke better than any of the regular drinks)
    Kettle cooked potato chips and
    Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, or anything with peanut butter basically.

  14. Goodbye diet, now I’m craving a bag of Fritos, a diet Coke, a little chili and cheese and for desert…a Snickers.

  15. All items I love but mostly stay away from. Probably a bite size Milky Way is the only item I’ve had in many years. I didn’t know they called lots of soda drinks Coke – interesting.

  16. Hmmm, fav soda is Diet Pepsi or Coke with Lime! Fav candy varies… right now I will say 100 Grand Bar. Fav chip… Ruffles. Yum… now I am hungry!

  17. Elizabeth, I’m a Coke drinker, but I like fountain Cokes the best. I try not to keep any canned ones around, so I won’t be tempted to put them on ice. Rummy on the Triskets. Have a wonderful day, fellow filly. Hugs, P

    Laurie G, I like Milky Ways, too. Thanks for stopping by. Have you tried Diet 7Up (which I drink, too) with Cranberry Juice? My little grands call then their “Spritzers” and love them.

    Ladies, have a great day. Hugs, Phyliss

  18. Enjoyed reading about those Texas inventions. All that good stuff and George Strait music. Your state has us all beat.
    When I was growing up one always asked for a Coke unless you were the odd ball that wanted a 7-Up. 7-Up seemed to be used for mixed alcoholic drinks.
    I remember my Mother had a Dr Pepper cookbook and she put it in her chili and meat loaf. i bet the company still has recipes for cooking today.
    Your book sounds really good.

  19. My fav chips are Lays Baked Chips, and I was always a Pepsi girl. Did not like Coke, or Dr. Pepper and of course we refer to “coke” as a soda. But that’s us Canadians. We do things our way.. If you ask for Coke get you get Coke. You have to ask for the specific brand.. Like 7Up or Sprite or Dr.Pepper of Coke or Pepsi or Canada Dry Ginger Ale. I am a real brank person when it comes to my soft drinks.

  20. Mina, I love Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, too. I’ve been a diabetic for a year now, so I really have to be careful what I eat. My dietician, said I could have a little chocolate and the like, if I’m careful. This isn’t medical advice to other diabetics, but it works for me. The problem, how in the world can I eat a half of a peanut butter cup? Just doesn’t work, and if I get a bag that has a lot of different candies, it’s worse … so it doesn’t mean I don’t still love ‘um. Sometimes I’ll buy candy and hide them from myself, but I always come across them eventually! LOL Thanks for stopping by. Hugs, Phyliss

  21. Fritos plain, or Ranch chips are my choice in chips. Diet 7up or Sprite is favorite drink. As far as candy goes I love them all I think. I don’t think I have seen a Mars Bar in years. Love Reeses, Butterfingers and Hershey’s bars. Like I said I love them all.

  22. Read this post before lunch. Got so hungry, had to go eat. Now that it is later, I can concentrate on what I want to write. No fair!
    There is nothing finer than a Snickers bar. And I’m from California! I have only had maybe 6 cokes in my life and I’m in my 70’s. I prefer 7-up or Squirt. Just strange, I guess.
    Good post. AND, I would really like to read your book.

  23. My favorite drink is a really good chocolate Milkshake. When I was little it was a treat to go to the Ice Cream store to get milkshakes. You really have to go out of your way today to find a cafe or restaurant that even serves them unless it is a 50’s diner of some kind. And Snickers has to be one of the best candy bars around. Of course anything chocolate is my kinda treat!

  24. My favourite is Coke with salt and vinegar or ketchup chips. Reese’s peanut butter cups are my favourite chocolate treat.

  25. Hi Anita,so glad you enjoyed Texas. We have a lot of local writers who attend ACFW in Dallas. Glad you had a good time. I can’t think of a root beer in a pink label, but it could have been their special brand or something. And, one of the possibilities is that it could have been imported from Mexico. Even the Coke bottled down there is so much stronger and frankly more tasteful than what is bottled in the US. I’ve been told they use more sugar than here, too. Oh yes, in this part of the country you really have to watch what is true Mexican food and what is Tex-Mex. I’m a definite Tex-Mex gal and am not crazy about a lot of spices. Even Tamales can vary, but unless they are too dry, I’ve never found a tamale I didn’t like. They are a traditional Christmas and New Year’s fare for a lot of Texans. But trust me, the rest of Texas isn’t anything like Dallas. I live in the Panhandle and we enjoy a lot of open space, clear skies, nights to count the stars, tumbleweeds and lots of wind, nothing like some of the other parts that have trees! I hope you come back to Texas one of these days. Big hugs.

    Katie J, sounds like your likes in snacks come straight from Texas.

    Thanks to both of you for stopping by. Big hugs, Phyliss

  26. Oh Karen, I totally agree on Blue Bell ice cream. Although it wasn’t invented here, we sure have a corner on the market with Blue Bell. Wonderful! Thanks for reminding me.

    Hi Bonnie Jean, we were talking today about the chocolate Fritos and decided since sweet/salty is so popular, we might just try them. But, at first, I didn’t think they sounded all that good. You all have a great day. Hugs, Phyliss

  27. Oh Mary, you make me laugh. You’re too funny. In the story about Mr. Doolin, it said that he tried the traditional Texas tortilla at first but they crumbled too badly, so he then went to the corn mixture. At one time, a town half way between where Linda and I live they had a plant that produced the corn for the Frito. We keep tortillas and chips around for a lot of dishes. You are just too funny, girl! Love ya, Phyliss

  28. I owe everyone a huge apology for not getting around to responding to all of your comments, but trust me, you are all in the the hat for the drawing for “Be My Texas Valentine”.

    Now comes true confession time, Fellow Filly Linda and I, along with Jodi, are up at Quartz Mountain in Oklahoma, in seclusion working on our current MS’s. We’re all on deadline, so I’d really plannied on spending the whole day, after breakfast, writing and answering comments in between. One big problem, I put the wrong meds in the wrong cases, so I took me night time meds this morning. I barely made it back from breakfast, acting more like a drunk than a sane writer, and hit the bed. I only got up long enough to eat something, my blog made me hungry, then I’d try to answer a comment, but then go back to bed. I apologize and think I need to change the color of my pillboxes. Thank goodness I don’t take Lunesta or anything like that or I wouldn’t have even gotten the few comments up that I did. If I seemed somewhere hovering outside of reality, well it wasn’t because I was entrenched in my story, but half-asleep!

    Big hugs to everyone who comment, and again, rest assured you are all in the drawing, which I’ll do in a little while. Love, Phyliss

  29. I love Cherry Coke and and to make it extra yummy i would eat a Carmelo! There sooo tasty. I almost want to hide them from anyone else in the house so that I eat them while watching a chick flick!

  30. We love the little bags of Fritos with taco meat, cheese, lettuce, tomatos, etc. at football tailgates!! Diet Coke & a Snickers bar!!

  31. Loved your post, which reminded me of my grandfather buying me a bottle of Dr. Pepper and then we’d add a handfull of peanuts. And a Dr. Pepper museum?!! What a great idea. Hope to visit one day.

  32. I love Cheetos. I really have to stay away from them. If I start a bag while I am doing something else, they’ll be gone before I realize it.
    Snickers are my husband’s favorite candy bar. They are a great snack and a good energy boost. The peanuts add protein so they are good food, right?
    I am a classic Coke drinker, but Dr Pepper is a close second.

    Thanks for the little history lesson. Kudos to Mars for using such a great and green power source. There are certainly enough landfills for more companies and towns to be utilizing.

    I already have BE MY TEXAS VALENTINE. Whoever the winner is, they are in for some enjoyable reading.

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