Some brands are regional. Some start out that way and become so popular they get national distribution.
Such is the case with Cheez Doodles from East Coast manufacturer King Kone, vs. Cheetos from Dallas-based Frito-Lay.
Both are puffed, cheese-flavored cornmeal snacks. Both began as regional brands, and became national powerhouses.
March 5th is National Cheez Doodles Day. You’ll find online that some small sites claim March 5th is National Cheetos Day; but it isn’t. Even though they are more than 10 years older, Cheetos needs to establish its own holiday.
The Cheez Doodles brand was originally developed and manufactured by King Kone Corporation of the Bronx. Melt-in-your-mouth and very cheddary, it became the prevalent cheese puff snack on the East Coast.
But King Kone? Where did that name come from for a cheese puff producer?
The company was originally a manufacturer of food machinery. In the early 1950s, they decided to manufacture foods instead of just selling the machinery. Their first product was making food ice cream cones.
One of their machines could extrude cornmeal under pressure through a narrow hole, which was then cut into three-inch lengths by a blade.
Baked with orange cheddar cheese and flavorings, the product was dubbed Cheez Doodles by company’s co-owner, as he was sitting a table with other employees sampling different alternatives for the cheese flavor.
Cheese puffs, cheese curls, cheese balls and cheesy puffs are all names for a puffed corn snack, coated with a mixture of cheese or cheese-flavored powders. They are manufactured by extruding heated corn dough through a die that forms the particular shape.
Eat them from the bag, from a bowl, or for very neat people, shake some onto a plate and serve with a napkin.
Cheez Doodles fanatics have used them as an ingredient in other foods, as well.
In 1960, King Cone Corporation was renamed as Old London Foods. In 1965, the company was bought by Borden, which made Cracker Jack and Drake’s cakes. It has been sold several times since.
Most people snack out of the bag or a bowl. But we found these 10 additional uses for Cheez Doodles that include Cheez Doodle Pie, Cheez Doodle macarons, Cheez Doodle Snickerdoodles, chocolate-dipped Cheez Doodles, Peanut Butter & Cheez Doodle Sandwich.
This article has similar ideas for Cheetos: top the cheese on a cheeseburger or grilled cheese sandwich, Cheetos nachos (instead of tortilla chips), mac and Cheetos and Cheetos sushi.
We’ve even seen crushed Cheez Doodles/Cheetos for breading chicken, a garnish for corn on the cob, and Cheetos marshmallow krispie treats.
We don’t pass judgment on what other people eat, but if we had to use Cheez Doodles beyond snack food, our idea would be as croutons on salads, for a “cheese and salad course.”
Cheetos were invented in 1948 by Charles Elmer Doolin, who created Fritos corn chips in Dallas, in 1932.
The snack sold briskly, but Doolin did not have the capacity to produce and distribute the snacks nationwide. In order to expand, he subsequently partnered with potato chip producer Herman W. Lay to market and distribute Cheetos.
The success of Cheetos prompted Doolin and Lay to merge their two companies in 1961, forming Frito-Lay Inc. (In the never-ending cycle of mergers and acquisitions, Frito-Lay merged with the Pepsi-Cola Company in 1965 to form PepsiCo.)
While Cheetos was the first cheesy snack puff, other major U.S. brands include Herr’s Cheese Curls, Wise Cheez Doodles and Utz Cheese Curls. As of 2010, Cheetos was the top-selling cheese puff in America.