“Mr. Cheez Doodles” dies

The millions of snackers who can’t stop munching Cheez Doodles, those air-puffed tubes of cheddar-flavored corn meal, owe all that pleasure to Morrie Yohai — although he insisted on spreading the credit.

Mr. Yohai, who always said it was “we” who “developed” rather than invented the snack — sharing the acclaim with colleagues at the factory he owned in the Bronx — died on July 27 at his home in Kings Point, N.Y., at the age of 90, his son, Robbie, said…

Mr. Yohai (pronounced yo-high) was the president of Old London Foods, the company founded by his father in the early 1920s and then called King Kone, which first produced ice cream cones and later popcorn, cheese crackers and Melba Toast.

“They were looking for a new salty snack and became aware of a machine that processed corn meal under high pressure into a long tube shape,” Robbie Yohai said on Monday. “They also discovered that if they used a high-speed blade, similar to a propeller, they could cut three-inch-long tubes, which then could be flavored with orange cheddar cheese and seasonings.” Then baked, not fried…

Although Mr. Yohai insisted on the “we” credit for the recipe, he did say that he came up with the product name. First marketed in the late 1950s, Cheez Doodles soon became so popular that by 1965, Old London Foods was bought by Borden, and Mr. Yohai became vice president of Borden’s snack food division, which among other products made Drake’s Cakes and Cracker Jack.

One of his duties, he said, was sitting around a table with other executives and choosing which tiny toys would be stuffed into Cracker Jack boxes…

Design credit notwithstanding, Mr. Yohai took pride in the popularity of Cheez Doodles. At his home, he kept a photograph of Julia Child digging into a bag.

Yes, I like Cheez Doodles – except for the fact they turn my fingers orange.

4 thoughts on ““Mr. Cheez Doodles” dies

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