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Made in Texas: The corn chips that helped launch a snack empire

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(Glane23/Wikipedia)

HOUSTONWelcome to Made in Texas, where we write about products made in the Lone Star State.

Today, we’re featuring the corn chips that helped launch a snack empire, Fritos, “The Original” corn chips.

The product

Fritos corn chips are small deep-fried strips of cornmeal, golden-orange in color and in a long, skinny, wavy form, according to a description from Snack History-- a database for snacks, candy, food and drinks.

The snack comes in six different varieties including original, chili cheese, flamin’ hot, lightly salted, jalapeno and honey BBQ.

Fritos chips have been combined with many different foods to create new recipes such as the popular Frito pie, Frito pie burgers, Frito pie burritos and more.

The inventor

According to the National Museum of American History, a Mexican-American restaurant owner in San Antonio named Gustavo Olguin sold the corn chip recipe to Charles Elmer Doolin, who later on perfected the recipe and founded Fritos.

The story behind Fritos

In 1932, Doolin entered a small San Antonio cafe and purchased a bag of corn chips from manufacturer Olgin. After learning that Olgin was eager to sell his business, Doolin bought the recipe from him and started making Fritos corn chips in his mother’s kitchen, according to the Frito Lay website.

In 1945, Doolin connected with Herman W. Lay, famous for automating the manufacturing process of potato chips and the head of H.W. Lay & Co. Lay was in charge of the nationwide distribution of Fritos, according to the NMAH.

In 1959, Doolin passed away. And in 1961, the Frito Company officially merged with H.W. Lay & Co. to become Frito-Lay.

Four years later, Frito-Lay, Inc. merged with Pepsi-Cola to form PepsiCo.

Today, the company has 29 different snack brands.


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