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11 Golden Facts About Eggo Waffles

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There’s something comforting in knowing that a hot, golden waffle may be waiting in the nearest freezer, which means that Eggo waffles are the best thing to happen to toasters since sliced bread. How well do you know the beloved breakfast staple? We tracked down some interesting facts in honor of National Waffle Week.

1. THEIR INVENTORS WERE ORIGINALLY MAYONNAISE MOGULS. 

To say the Eggo story has humble beginnings is a bit of an understatement. In 1932, Frank Dorsa of San Jose, California and his brothers Anthony and Sam joined forces on a culinary project in their parents’ basement. When they were finished, the Dorsa brothers had created a new brand of mayonnaise. Throughout the Depression, Eggo Mayonnaise boasted of its use of “100 percent fresh ranch eggs” and “triple refined vegetable oil,” which helped it sell quite well around the Dorsas’ San Jose home. A 1939 San Jose Evening News headline even read, “Local Mayonnaise is Highly Popular.” 

2. WAFFLES CAME LATER.

After the Dorsas conquered the local mayonnaise game, they kept going. As Frank Dorsa’s obituary would later note, the brothers turned an infusion of $50 into the capital they needed to break into the waffle business. Before long, they were selling both mayonnaise and fresh waffle batter to hungry northern Californians. Eventually, though, they hit a snag: Shipping fresh batter and mayo restricted the area in which they could sell their wares. Undeterred, they created a powdered mix that cooks could reconstitute with a little milk. 

3. THE EGGO LINE ONLY GOT BIGGER FROM THERE.

As the waffle and mayonnaise trade took off, the Dorsas expanded their sights. In 1938, they acquired the Garden City Potato Chip factory, and soon there were Eggo chips on the market. The Eggo line would eventually feature a dazzling variety of non-waffle foods, including noodles, salad dressings, and pretzels. Trade.mar.cx has a fun collection of old Eggo packaging. 

4. BRANCHING INTO CHIPS HELPED MAKE THE EGGOS WE KNOW POSSIBLE. 

The acquisition of the potato chip plant did more than just help Eggo expand into chips. It gave Frank Dorsa a chance to flex his muscles as an inventor. A trained machinist who had worked for a food machinery company, Dorsa used his mechanical know-how to invent a continuous potato peeler that would save employees from having to peel every fryer-bound potato by hand. This brand of ingenuity and automation would come in handy later when the Dorsas faced another issue.

5. CONSUMERS' MOVEMENT INTO FROZEN FOOD WAS A PROBLEM. 

By the early 1950s, postwar Americans no longer wanted fresh waffle batter or even the Dorsas’ powdered Eggo mix. Frozen foods were the hot item, and if the Eggo brand wanted to stay relevant, it would need to create a market for frozen waffles. At that point, the Dorsas ran into an issue that’s familiar to anyone who has broken out the waffle iron on a weekend morning: Making each waffle is a fair amount of work that requires pouring batter and monitoring the cooking process. At first glance, waffles don’t seem like a food that would be easy to mass-produce. 

6. FRANK DORSA'S SOLUTION WAS BRILLIANTLY QUIRKY. 

The Dorsas had risen from their parents’ basement at the height of the Depression—they weren’t intimidated by the logistical hurdles of waffle-making. Frank sank his teeth into the problem, and by 1953, he had solved it with smart thinking and a little flair. With the help of a merry-go-round engine, Dorsa built a giant, rotating contraption equipped with a slew of waffle irons. The waffles cooked as the carousel rotated, and strategically placed employees could flip each waffle at just the right time. The machine enabled Eggo to crank out thousands of waffles an hour. 

7. THEY ORIGINALLY HAD A DIFFERENT NAME. 

The machine enabled Eggo to crank out thousands of waffles an hour, and American eaters were about to get a treat. When Dorsa’s creation hit grocers’ freezers in 1953, they weren’t called Eggo Waffles. Instead, they were known as Froffles, a combination of “frozen” and “waffles.” After spending two years winning over toasters and becoming a breakfast favorite on the West Coast, the name changed to Eggo waffles in 1955. 

8. EGGO WAFFLES TOOK THE NATION BY STORM IN THE 1970S. 

After years of delighting diners up and down the West Coast, Eggo waffles got their shot at the big time when Kellogg acquired the brand in the 1970s. Taking Eggo national proved to be a savvy move for Kellogg—the brand now controls over 60 percent of the $1.2 billion frozen waffle, pancake, and French toast category.

9. KELLOGG ALSO GAVE THE BRAND ITS CLASSIC SLOGAN. 

Rolling Eggo out on a national basis required a good slogan, and luckily for Kellogg, ad agency Leo Burnett had just the thing. The company debuted its “Leggo My Eggo” campaign in 1972, and the messaging performed so well that it remained the key part of Eggo’s marketing for 36 years. Although Kellogg finally retired the pitch in 2008, nothing can keep a strong tagline from persisting—the company brought back “Leggo my Eggo” in late 2014.

10. EGGO FANS HAD A ROUGH TIME IN 2009 AND 2010. 


In 2009, Kellogg faced what might have been history’s biggest waffle crisis. In September, the company’s Atlanta plant—one of four that makes Eggos—showed signs of Listeria infection, necessitating a recall of 4500 cases of waffles. Just as the plant was poised to reopen, heavy rains and floods hammered the area, further delaying production. Coupled with a temporary shutdown of the company’s waffle-making plant in Rossville, Tenn. for equipment repairs, the delay proved disastrous. Kellogg had to warn customers that Eggo shortages would persist into mid-2010. Thankfully for waffle lovers, Kellogg got the issues straightened out in 2010, and freezers could once again be filled with waffles. 

11. DORSA NEVER PERFECTED PANCAKES. 

When Eggo godfather Frank Dorsa passed away in 1996, his obituaries mentioned that he never abandoned his experimenting and inventions. He created a fryer that kept bacon from curling and a host of other innovations, but Dorsa’s son revealed the one goal that consistently eluded the great food thinker: A recipe for frozen pancakes. One can only imagine, then, that the inclusion of pancakes in the current Eggo product line would delight him. 

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Animals
Switzerland Just Made It Illegal to Boil Live Lobsters
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No, lobsters don’t scream when you toss them into a pot of boiling water, but as far as the Swiss government is concerned, they can still feel pain. The path most lobsters take to the dinner plate is supposedly so inhumane that Switzerland has banned boiling lobsters alive unless they are stunned first, The Guardian reports.

The new law is based on assertions from animal rights advocates and some scientists that crustaceans like lobsters have complex nervous systems, making death by boiling incredibly painful. If chefs want to include lobster on their menus, they’re now required to knock them out before preparing them. Acceptable stunning methods under Swiss law include electric shock and the “mechanical destruction” of the lobster’s brain (i.e. stabbing it in the head).

The government has also outlawed the transportation of live lobsters on ice or in icy water. The animals should instead be kept in containers that are as close to their natural environment as possible until they’re ready for the pot.

Proponents of animal rights are happy with the decision, but others, including some scientists, are skeptical. The data still isn’t clear as to whether or not lobsters feel pain, at least in the way people think of it. Bob Bayer, head of the University of Maine’s Lobster Institute, told Mental Floss in 2014 that lobsters “sense their environment, but don’t have the intellectual hardware to process pain.”

If you live in a place where boiling lobsters is legal, but still have ethical concerns over eating them, try tossing your lobster in the freezer before giving it a hot water bath. Chilling it puts it to sleep and is less messy than butchering it while it’s still alive.

[h/t The Guardian]

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Food
Hate Red M&M's? You Need a Candy Color-Sorting Machine
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You don’t have to be a demanding rock star to live a life without brown M&M's or purple Skittles—all you need is some engineering know-how and a little bit of free time.

Mechanical engineering student Willem Pennings created a machine that can take small pieces of candy—like M&M's, Skittles, Reese’s Pieces, etc.—and sort them by color into individual piles. All Pennings needs to do is pour the candy into the top funnel; from there, the machine separates the candy—around two pieces per second—and dispenses all of it into smaller bowls at the bottom designated for each variety.

The color identification is performed with an RGB sensor that takes “optical measurements” of candy pieces of equal dimensions. There are limitations, though, as Pennings revealed in a Reddit Q&A: “I wouldn't be able to use this machine for peanut M&M's, since the sizes vary so much.”

The entire building process lasted from May through December 2016, and included the actual conceptualization, 3D printing (which was outsourced), and construction. The entire project was detailed on Pennings’s website and Reddit's DIY page.

With all of the motors, circuitry, and hardware that went into it, Pennings’s machine is likely too ambitious of a task for the average candy aficionado. So until a machine like this hits the open market, you're probably stuck buying bags of single-colored M&M’s in bulk online or sorting all of the candy out yourself the old fashioned way.

To see Pennings’s machine in action, check out the video below:

[h/t Refinery 29]

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