Sunday, February 19, 2012

Doritos: A Brief History

Some facts about Doritos (per the internet - I should state here that I tried to do some research on a Doritos factory tour, and this does not seem to be a thing, so the internet will have to suffice):
  • Created by Arch West in 1964 (fun fact about Arch: His family sprinkled Doritos over his gave when he died in 2011*)
  • Launched in the US in 1966
  • The first tortilla chip to be launched nationally in the US
  • Doritos made up 1/3 of total sales for Frito-Lay in 1993
  • The product line was "redesigned" in 1994 to make the chips larger, thinner, and to have a more powerful flavor
  • Someone sued the company because he cut his throat eating the chips (how about slowing down next time, guy?)
  • The first flavor was taco; nacho, the most popular flavor, was launched in 1972
  • Cool ranch was released in 1986 (fact: as a kid, I loved eating the cool ranch chips with extra sharp cheddar cheese)
  • Marketing for Doritos includes celebrity endorsements, Super Bowl ads, and sending chips out into space (seriously)
Today, Doritos offer a kind-of-absurd variety of flavors, many of them for a limited time only (90% marketing, 10% taste, right?). To their credit, they have completely removed trans fats from their recipe. The ingredients list still contains a host of things I can't pronounce, though, so in reality, who knows what's actually going on here. After all, they are a mass-produced snack food with an impressive shelf life. 

Now, let's deconstruct this a bit: 

Tortilla chips, the obvious basic component of Doritos, got their start in Los Angeles in the 1940s. They are kind of a spin-off of the Mexican tostada, though usually cut into triangular pieces from a corn tortilla. Credit for this goes to Rebecca Webb Carranza of the El Zarape Tortilla Factory, who was looking for a way to use the broken pieces that couldn't be sold. 

So Doritos combined the tortilla chip with the flavor into one convenient bag, making it tasty and accessible to Americans everywhere. This is exactly what I will attempt to do at home. As soon as I unlock the secret to powdered cheese... 

*I'm just cribbing off the internet, you guys. If any of this isn't accurate, blame Wikipedia. 

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