All it Takes is One Fried Onion
Food. We hunger for it and we need it to sustain life. In the beginning, the act of eating was a brutal means of extending your bleak life. Our ancestors found themselves hunting down the sabretooth or mastodons hoping that they and not their prey would have the better meal for the day. Needless to say, we’ve come along ways as far as the human race goes. So far that not only is food easily available without all the work of hunting it or staring…but now food has become associated with fun! I say this because now we’re doing amazing things with food that our haircovered ancestors would have never dreamed of. Once while working I decided to indulge in the magical snack that are Funyuns…which is of course onion ring flavored snacks. I was AMAZED at how much these lovely snacks actually tasted and looked like onion rings. I then pondered…if making “oinion ring-esque” snacks weren’t enough someone surely must have equally rocked the world with the introduction of the onion ring. How did that come about I wonder?
Well…the onion ring has a bit of controversy surrounding its invention. Like all good mythological food stories of great magnitude, there are two parties laying claim to inventing the onion ring. Let me rephrase this slightly…there are two parties laying claim to “DEVELOPING” the onion ring. Apparently one party, a Mr. Sam Quigley began the process of perfecting the onion ring in 1955 where eventually he sold them in small amounts in his Nebraska storefront. The other story of development claims that Pig Stand Restaurants a food chain with texas origins, invented the onion ring in 1920’s. Ok you’re probably wondering the same thing I’m wondering. What set of circumstances led to someone inventing the onion ring. Well…I did some digging and according to the Pig Stand Restaurants’ history, it was a happy and tasty accident. Apparently in 1929 a clumsy cook accidentally dropped a ring of onion destined for a hamburger intoa bowl of batter. The cook thought for a second and like all who have an imagination and a frying device, picked it up and threw it in the fryer. Ergo…the onion ring was born. I have some doubts about the creditability of this account because the same source also claims that The Pig Stand Restaurant was the first restaurant to offer the following things: Curb side drive in service, the first restaurant use of neon lights, air conditioning in restaraunts, as well as the first use of flourescant lighting. Oh but wait there’s other food innovations that sprung from the seemingly common restaurant. Texas toast is another credited to a Mr. Royce Hailey..a former carhop turned food inventor. Not long after the creation of texas toast, Lighting struck twice when Hailey breaded and fried a piece of steak leading to the delightful comfort food and overall confusing mix of meat known as “Chicken Fried Steak”. As with all tortured geniuses Mr. Royce Haily, food visionary, never thought to trademark any of his ideas therefore the fame spread of his creation, unfortunately no credit..nor money followed for Mr. Haily. I understand though Mr. Hailey…you are an ARTISTE! Money was not your motivator, it was the love of the food. I think that counts for something.
Sure…that was a long way to go to find out the story behind the onion ring, nonetheless I’m going to bring the pondering back around full circle now. Food is now thought of as fun. Do you think that people in the 1950’s would have dreamed of having multi-colored ketchups? What about Smucker’s Goober spread…which is of course the peanut butter together in the same jar. Would our grandfathers have dreamed of spray butter? How about Lunchables, the quick meal in a box which kids love. I guess my point is that food has grown beyond being a neccessity for living, it’s become almost a toy. The marketing of food now has a creative team. “Gee Bob I wonder if you could some how actually put mesquitos into mesquite bbq sauce”.
I’m not sure that I have any problems with creative and fun food, I mean, I’m a creative person and respect that rouge thinking outside the box philosophy, however I’m growing more concerned that the food industry is running out of real work and that they are now playing god with our somewhat simpler foods. Don’t believe me? Perhaps you don’t remember the square watermelons that the japaneese were toying with? What scientific purpose are experiments like that serving anyways? Food can be fun, that’s for sure, but when you have to spend that much time making food fun, That’s when I begin to get worried. I get worried what the future of food ideas may hold. Who’s going to be the next food visionary such as Mr. Royce Hailey, who will bring the next food innovation into this great world. Whose name will forever live in……well I guess not fame..I had to do a lot of research to find out about Mr. Royce Hailey…..so to rephrase once again….Whose name will forever live buried deeply in google search results…as a food visionary? I simply do not know.