Tuesday, March 28, 2017

There really was a Chef Boyardee




This has got to be one of my dumbest animations ever, but here it is anyway.  For God's sake, I could only find three pictures! Then they had to be worked on a lot to get them to match up. Pretend he is smacking his lips, or blowing on something to cool it off.

Like everyone else, I was surprised to discover there really was a Chef Boyardee, a renowned chef who owned popular Italian restaurants. This went on very nicely until World War II, when the nation desperately needed army rations. Voila - canned spaghetti! This had never been tried before, and it is said that soldiers went about with can openers slung around their necks to partake of cold, congealed ravioli and other gourmet delights.




This brought about a change in the product, of course, making it blander and more uniform. It was sturdy food that could provide quick calories and hold up in the trenches. But in the 1950s, when the good chef first appeared on TV, army-ration-style food was still very much "in". All those horrific Spam/gelatined table scraps/creamed everything recipes prove it. America still very much remembered the war as they entered that other war, the cold one.

And the cold rations went over well. I fed my kids Chef Boyardee ravioli (which my toddler son called "dabioti") because they ate it, and liked it, and it was easy. I guess they survived. I even ate it myself, but the last time I tried it, it tasted like nothing. I was shocked.

I find it interesting that, while he and the announcer both correctly pronounce his name "Boi-AR-di", it soon evolved into the supposedly-more-manageable "Boy-ar-DEE". I will never forget those pizza mixes, which for years and years was the only pizza we ever consumed: thin cardboard crust, non-zippy red sauce, and a little can of powder that passed for cheese.


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