What is your favorite snack? In Texas when I was growing up everybody would order a coke for their drink, only to be asked “Do you want a Dr Pepper, root beer, or a Coca-Cola? This shows my age because we went on “coke dates”! Even today we ask if someone wants to stop at a drive-thru for a coke, regardless of what they want to drink.
I found some interesting facts when I begin to think about this Southern way of thinking.
Of interest, Charles Elmer Doolin was a candy maker from San Antonio, Texas, during the Depression. He got hooked on the first local version of a fried corn chip…the Frito.
Mr. Doolin promptly bought the recipe and the business, making it his life’s work to perfect the flavor of Fritos. After varying the recipe, he created his own hybrid corn, and developed a conveyor-belt manufacturing unit to make the chips more efficiently. Along the way, he also invented the Cheeto.
In 1955, he opened the Casa de Fritos restaurants. One was in Disneyland and the other in Dallas.
Pix of Frito Pie: Recipes developed for the Frito, including one of my favorite “go to” dish, Frito Chili Pie, which was invented by his mother. Ironically, Mr. Doolin was a healthy eater…a vegetarian who avoided fat and salt.
Now for Dr Pepper which is the oldest carbonated soft drink among popular soft drinks in the United States. The unique Dr Pepper mix originated in Waco, Texas at a small town drugstore called Morrison’s Old Corner Drug Store. Most people agree Charles Alderton, the pharmacist at Morrison’s, created the Dr Pepper mixture while working. He spent a lot of time mixing fruit syrups and coming up with new flavors for their carbonated soda machine. He later named his creation, containing 23 different flavors, Dr Pepper.
Px on right of Morrisons Drug: The drink became so popular that the drug store owner, couldn’t keep up with the demand. Every establishment that served soda fountain drinks wanted his Dr Pepper syrup. The period in ‘Dr Pepper’ would later be removed.’ While Alderton was a brilliant pharmacist, he had no desire to take the Dr Pepper drink any further and handed it over to Morrison, the drug store owner, and a man by the name of Robert Lazenby. He was a professional beverage chemist and he and Morrison subsequently worked to improve the drink and take it even further in the market. Due to the drink’s colossal success the two started what we now know as the Dr Pepper Company.
The real defining moment was at the 1904 World’s Fair when Lazenby and his son-in-law J.B. O’Hara graced the crowds with the Dr Pepper drink. Nearly 20 million people showed up to the fair and tried the addictive drink. Over the years the drink went global, emerging on the market around the world. It also held many different marketing slogans like ‘the friendly Pepper-Upper’ and ‘King of Beverages’.
At one point Dr Pepper sued Coca-Cola for trademark infringement when they came out with a Dr.Pibb, which was not only similar in name but tasted similar to Dr Pepper. Coca-Cola was forced to change the name to Mr Pibb, a drink you can still buy today. Now you can enjoy the Dr Pepper flavor with a hint of vanilla or with reduced sugar, called Dr Pepper Zero, which was invented in the United Kingdom. The actual flavors in the Dr Pepper drink are said to be kept in two different vaults. The top secret information is a mystery that still pulls at the curiosity of Dr Pepper lovers today.
You can still visit the Dr Pepper Factory in the small town of Waco, Texas, for a guide through the many stages of Dr Pepper’s history. The now nationally known soda started in this unlikely city which still cherishes the drink to this day.
What is your favorite snack? Do you ever drink Dr. Pepper and Fritos or Cheetos together?
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