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SpaghettiOs and the Curious Histories of Snack Foods

In 1967, food ads of the time began promoting “the greatest invention since the napkin.” Riding the wave of Italian-inspired convenience foods, that game-changing new product was a new spaghetti you could eat with a spoon which hit the markets with a perfectly descriptive brand name: SpaghettiOs. The canned product was a hit, quickly becoming a cultural icon and soon becoming a symbol of the growing American love affair with packaged foods. The true story of its creation, including the man who mistakenly gets credit for its invention and the woman who actually should is the subject of an entertaining deep dive into the history of SpaghettiOs from a blog called Snack Stack.

The writer is a food and travel writer named Doug Mack who focuses his blog on the cultural history of snacks and other foods. His past articles have looked at the untold history of everything from bunny chow in South Africa, patties in Jamaica, or chikki peanut brittle from India. Why does he do this? As he explains, “snacks provide a break from the bustle of life, and I want this newsletter to serve the same function.” Exploring his little corner of the Internet reminded me of the delightful experience I used to have often of discovering a new blog. It feels like that is getting harder and harder. Sometimes there’s nothing quite as satisfying as finding someone who still spends hours researching and writing about an otherwise obscure topic that just brings them joy.

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In addition to Non-Obvious Thinking, Rohit is the author of 10 books on trends, the future of business, building a more human brand with storytelling and how to create a more diverse and inclusive world.

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