Books

Eat Local! Eat Cheetos!

The death of Cheez Doodles creator Morrie Yohai last week spawns this New York Times piece today about the myriad other cheese-flavored snacks available, well, everywhere. And it reminds us of another great inventor: Charles Elmer Doolin, the father of Frito and the creator of the Cheeto:

Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, Mr. Doolin, the founder of the Frito Company and the son of an inventor, experimented in a little kitchen next to his office in Dallas.

"We were taste-testers, guinea pigs," Mr. Doolin's daughter, Kaleta Doolin, 60, said of her and her four siblings.

Ms. Doolin, who is writing a book called Fritos Pie: The Family Story of the Frito Company, says when she sees people eating Cheetos and Fritos, she thinks of her father, who died in 1959. She prefers Fritos. Her 20-year-old son prefers Cheetos. "Maybe it's a generation thing," she said.

Incidentally, Kaleta Doolin is married to Dallas historian Alan Govenar -- who just published a biography of Lightnin' Hopkins, which I'll write about later. While eating Cheetos, naturally. And Alan says Kaleta's book will be published by Texas A&M University Consortium Press in the spring or summer of 2011.

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky

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