A community newsletter serving New Melle, Defiance, Augus​ta, Marthasville, Dutzow​​ a​nd surrounding areas.

History of Snack Items

Submitted by Ellen Knoernschild from the book The History of Food.

Cracker Jack originated in 1896, a mixture of popcorn with molasses and nuts made in the back room of the manufacturer's apartment. They invented a single-serve package covered with foil and two layers of wax paper to maintain its crispness. By 1907, when “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” was written, Cracker Jack was the most popular snack; during the Depression, it sold for 5 cents and contained toys.
In 1900, Milton Hershey invented a machine for candy bars, rather than their having to be formed by hand. However, chocolate bars did not become popular until after the First World War. Goo Goo Clusters was the first combination candy made in Nashville, starting in 1912, and it contained caramel, marshmallows, peanuts, and chocolate.

Clark Bars and Baby Ruth went on sale in 1916, Milky Way and Three Musketeers in 1923, all invented by Frank Mars, who also introduced Snickers in 1930 (Snickers was the name of his horse.) In 1940, he introduced M&M's, a non-melting candy for soldiers.

Herman Lay started selling potato chips in small packages in 1932. In 1948, he merged with Fritos Corn Chips and invented Cheetos.

Dr. John Kellogg invented “grunola” — ground-up graham wafers plus other grains — as a wholesome food for his Battle Creek, Michigan, sanitarium in 1877. In 1894, a machine to shred wheat flakes and make biscuits (Shredded Wheat) was invented. Grape Nuts, a combination of wheat and malted barley, was a “scientific health food.” Sugar was added to these cereals after World War II, so they were no longer so healthy.

With an institute in Battle Creek, Charles Post made a healthful caramel-flavored coffee substitute, combining wheat berries and molasses, named “Postum.”
In 1893, Fannie Farmer became the principal of the Boston Cooking School. She revised the school's cookbook, being the first to use standardized measurements (not “a piece of butter the size of a hen's egg,” etc.), put her ingredient list at the beginning of a recipe, and provided the length of time an item should cook. The invention of more easily regulated stoves and standardized measuring cups and spoons improved cooking.