(article) Fritos Pie featured in Smithsonian FOOD Exhibit

 Photos: cover of Fritos Pie book; Kaleta Doolin in Fritos car; Doolin reading at Texas Folklife gallery

Fritos Pie continues to be showcased in the Smithsonian's exhibit "FOOD: Transforming the American Table" and will be extended until 2017.  Part of the Fritos Pie Exhibit was on display at Texas Folklife the Spring and Summer of 2013 and is now available for touring.  Interested parties should contact Texas Folklife at (512) 441-9255 or info@texasfolklife.org.  

Fritos Pie: The Exhibition

Texas Folklife's exploration of Texas foodways included this internationally beloved product born in the Lone Star State – Fritos ®.  "Everyone knows my father's product, Fritos Corn Chips, but few people associate his name with them," said Kaleta Doolin, author of Fritos® Pie: Stories, Recipes, and More and daughter of Fritos founder C.E. Doolin. 

Building on her involvement in the Smithsonian exhibition, “Food: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000” which opened in November2012 in Washington, D.C., Doolin elaborates the Fritos Company’s early impact on American agricultural practices, environment and the American palette.

According to the Smithsonian, Fritos corn chips launched a snack empire by transforming a typical American street food, fritas (little fried things) into a mass-produced, mass-marketed snack staple.  C.E. Doolin of San Antonio, Texas, purchased a recipe and the equipment for making the chips by hand from Gustavo Olguin in 1932.  By 1950, having applied Henry Ford’s assembly-line methods to their production, Doolin was selling bags of Fritos nationwide.

In 1932 C. E. Doolin, the operator of a struggling San Antonio confectionery, made a purchase that would change his life. For the price of $100, he received a recipe for a fried corn chip product, a crude device used to make it, and a list of 19 customer accounts. From that humble beginning sprang Fritos®, a product that, thanks to Doolin’s marketing ingenuity and a visionary approach to food technology, would become one of the best-known brands in America.

Fritos® Pie is an insider’s look at the never-before-told story of the Frito Company. Doolin, daughter of the company’s founder, provides personal anecdotes, stories and more than 150 vintage and newly created recipes. Fritos® Pie recounts the company’s fascinating history.

This book has been praised as a “. . . deep-fried, wide-eyed, American saga of family and food,” by Davia Nelson of NPR's award winning Kitchen Sisters, who wrote the book’s foreword.

One of the first firms to utilize point-of-sale advertising, the Frito Company developed dozens of recipes intended to get American homemakers “Cooking with Fritos.” 

Indeed, Doolin shows that many of the vintage recipes developed by her grandmother, her father and company employees became integral to the company’s marketing success. The book includes recipes — for everything from appetizers to desserts, all using Fritos as an ingredient — along with the author’s comments and anecdotes about her adventures experimenting with them in her kitchen.

The book Fritos® Pie is available for purchase at the Texas Folklife gallery and online shop.