Episode 91: The Toaster and Toaster Breakfast Foods (aka Pop-Tarts, Eggo Waffles, and Toaster Strudels)

Monday, April 30, 2018
We love the toaster and all the things you can toast in it, including all Eggo Waffles, Pop-Tarts, and Toaster Strudels. We get into the toaster, the next best thing since sliced bread, then go into the interesting and competitive history and design of the Eggo Waffles (aka the Froffle), Pop-Tarts, Country Squares, and Toaster Strudels.

Let's taco 'bout it!

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Let's taco 'bout it!

  • There were toasting tools (that resemble current camping-type toasters) that were used before toasters were invented to achieve bread toastiness.
  • The Scottish scientist and inventor Alan MacMasters invented the first electric toaster in 1893. There were a couple of major drawbacks to his version: the heating element would melt, creating a fire hazard and electricity wasn't readily available to everyone at that time.
  • Engineer Albert Marsh created a new heating element, an alloy of nickel and chromium, which he named Nichrome. (You can buy rolls of this type of heating element still today.) George Schneider collaborated with Albert Marsh to apply for the first patent in the US for the electric toaster.

  • Lloyd G. Copeman and his wife Hazel Copeman introduced the automatic bread turner in 1913. Game changer! Unless you want to only toast one side of your bread (like a bagel toaster).
  • In 1921, Charles Strite patented the first automatic pop-up toaster (aka it had a timer built in). It was tweaked even further to have the timer, heating elements on both sides, and the automatic pop-up feature. We've arrived!
  • Nowadays, the "Cancel" button, the browning settings, the "Frozen" button, the removable crumb tray, longer and deeper bread slots, are all common design features on the modern-day toaster.
  • Fancy toasters: Internet toasters, toast with the weather prediction on one side of your toast, and the hot dog toaster. (By the way, have you seen this video with Stephen Colbert and the "Notorious RBG" about whether a hot dog is a sandwich? Hilarious!)

  • The person who invented sliced bread, Otto Frederick Rohwedder, is a hero in my book. Greatest thing since sliced bread!
  • The Eggo food company, started by 3 brothers Anthony, Frank, and Sam Dorsa, created mayonnaise made with fresh ranch eggs, hence the name Eggo.
  • They then went on to make waffle mix, potato chips, then eventually "Froffles" (a portmanteau of frozen and waffles). People kept calling them Eggos because of the egg flavor and it stuck. 
  • Kellogg took over the Eggo company in the 1970s, and the "L'eggo My Eggo" ad campaign started in 1972 and still is going (after a short retirement). By the way, Frank Dorsa never got to see the frozen pancake before he passed away in the 90s, but Kellogg finally got it done!
  • Pop Tarts started due to a press conference by Post, a competitor of Kellogg, where they announced a toaster breakfast food, called Country Squares. However, Kellogg beat them to the punch and introduced Pop-Tarts before Post could get the Country Squares out.

  • We tried the Oreo and Strawberry flavors of Pop-tarts as as experience. Winter prefers them toasted (of course), while Sharon prefers them raw.
  • It was too expensive to wrap Pop-tarts individually, so they foil wrapped them 2 within a package.
  • Now Pillsbury's Toaster Strudel came out in 1985 with their slogan "Something better just popped up".
  • We talked about bagels on another episode--have you heard it?
  • During our Food Fight segment, we talk about a roommate stealing the listener's food. We decide

Run Time: 56 minutes

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