Photo via ClonehengeThe inventor of the Cheez Doodle, Morrie Yohai, has passed away at the age of 90 (via). Mr. Yohai's invention occurred after taking over his father's snack food business in the Bronx after World War II (during which he was a Marine pilot in the South Pacific).
"We were looking for another snack item,... We were fooling around and found out there was a machine that extruded cornmeal and it almost popped like popcorn."When Mr. Yohai later sold the company he became,
Yohai said they decided to chop the cornmeal product into small pieces and coat it with cheese....
...group vice president in charge of snacks... his job involved sitting around a conference table with other executives and selecting the toys inside Cracker Jack boxes.Morrie (if I may) must have swept the prizes in that parlor game (or more precisely, in my experience, dive-bar game) in which one competes with friends over who has had the oddest or coolest job at some point in their life. I once knew someone who claimed he had a job putting the arms and legs on GI Joes - consider what that job might be titled in today's bureaucratic-euphemism-mad work world. Inventing Cheez Doodles is a top-flight candidate for the prize as well. But choosing the toys for Cracker Jack boxes...?!
Morrie later became a teacher and college administrator, and as a philanthropist was founder of the New York Sephardic Jewish Film Festival.
Yet later, Morrie became a Jewish mystic and poet.
You have most likely never heard of Morrie Yohai. I certainly hadn't until this week and mostly avoid Cheez Doodles. But I think it worth a humble nod of respect for the life of someone who invented a famous snack food, flew airplanes in the South Pacific, chose the toys I and millions of others pulled from Cracker Jack boxes at ballgames, published two books of poetry, and ultimately pondered the depths of Jewish mysticism.