Culture Packaged Food

The US Military Is Apparently Behind The Invention Of The Cheeto

Photo: So Delicious

Sometimes, the food we take for granted has the weirdest origin story. Case in point: the invention of Cheetos, which happened with the involvement of the US military. Want to know the tale? Join us!

Do you ever get lost in a weird Internet wormhole? Where clicking link after link after link takes you to faraway interesting places and reveals unimaginable treasures? And by treasures, I mean stories, my one and only favorite kind of Internet loot. This happens to me all the time, especially when it comes to food and stories related to food. They tend to make everything more palpable and they create an even deeper emotional connection to various dishes and foods all around the world. After all, isn’t food culture just a type of story to tell?

Yeah, this whole poetic, melancholy introduction is for a rundown of the invention of Cheetos, one of these things I have discovered while navigating the webs. The story was revealed by Wired a while ago, when they published an excerpt from the book ‘Combat-Ready Kitchen: How the U.S. Military Shapes the Way You Eat’, by Anastacia Marx de Salcedo. So yeah, Cheetos aren’t the only food innovation that owes its life to the military.

The invention of Cheetos: a fabled, military tale

But if you’ve ever or never wondered about how Cheetos came to be, the most interesting info is that it all happened with the involvement of the US military, who were simply doing research on dehydrating foods during World War II. This was supposed to be a way to make it easier for the foods to be packed into meal kits for soldiers. Because the last thing you want during times of war is for your food to expire, go rancid and make you sick, right?

The Invention of Cheetos: How the US Military Participated

Cheese is one of our favorites and it has been a favorite of the world for a long, long time. But it doesn’t last that long or keeps well during the summer or in hot climates. One of the first steps in creating a longer-lasting cheese was emulsifying salts, a process that creates a cheese-like product that can withstand heat. The U.S. Military first got into the cheese game during World War I, with buying a twenty‑five million quarter‑pound tins from Kraft.

But years later during World War II, the military wanted new ways to store and ship cheese. At the beginning of the war, they started to study dehydration and compression. They removed heavy water and reduced the volume of cheese. That way, they could ship more food with one shipment. The cheese was dehydrated by being run through drying chambers and squashed into bricks.

Research led to cheese powder

This research was conducted by the Quartermaster Corps’ Subsistence Research Laboratory, through the USDA laboratories, at various universities, and by the industry, especially Kraft. When you dry and press out cheese, what you get is fine dust. Which can be used for cooking. Basically, that’s how the cheese powder that’s the basis for Cheetos now was invented. The first powder was developed by a USDA dairy scientist, George Sanders, in 1943.

After the war, there was a lot of cheese powder left in the warehouses of the military. That’s where food manufacturers came in. A lot of corporations bought the powder to mix it into other goods, for adding extra flavor. In 1948, the Frito Company debuted the first ever American cheesy snack, made with dehydrated cheese. The founder of the company had been a military supplier. This snack was the Cheeto, made by the extruding of cornmeal and water, puffed, fried in oil, and coated with the orange dehydrated Wisconsin cheese. What a history!

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Article by Ruxandra Grecu from So Delicious. View the original article here.

Culture Video

Watch This Guy Eat And Review US Field Rations From World War II

Typically, we’re not too interested in covering food reviews, but there’s something pretty unique about a man who only evaluates field rations from the past.

YouTuber Steve1989 describes himself as someone who will eat just about anything. His page is essentially a virtual museum. In each video, he opens up cans of rations from a plethora of militaries and wars and takes an intimate look at the foods frozen in time within them.

Check out his review of US Army field rations from World War II.

In this video, Steve tries a WW2 Ration Type C B-Unit and analyzes each item as he goes. The can is stuffed with candies, coffee, and even some questionable cookies. Listening to this soft-spoken guy talk about field rations is so soothing. His excitement to try the 75-year-old snacks is also pretty darn commendable.

Check out the video to see his thoughts on the rations and the rest of his channel as he tries other rations from history. Dude’s probably got a stomach of iron.

News Now Trending

After Dual-Arm Transplant, Marine Pursues Dream To Become A Chef

Since he was a young boy, John Peck’s dream was to become a chef. Instead, he became a Marine.

Unfortunately, in 2010, John’s military career ended while on tour in Afghanistan, after he stepped on an explosive device. He was lucky to survive as a quadruple amputee.

Still, without his arms or legs, Peck’s aspirations of becoming a chef never faltered.

Now, with the help of a recent dual-arm transplant, Peck says he’s traveling to Italy, enrolling in culinary school, and plans to become the next Food Network star.


Peck is now the second person in the world to receive a dual-arm transplant.  On Wednesday October 5, at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA, Peck spoke at his first public post-transplant press conference, where he thanked the family of his donor and explained his plan for the next chapter of his new life.

“My dream job since I was 12 was to be a chef. Now because of my donor’s gift, I actually have a fighting chance of doing this. I plan on going to culinary school, traveling to Paris and Italy, learning their techniques, coming back, and competing as the next Food Network star.”

Still a Marine at heart, Peck exudes a die-hard motivation to pursue his dreams and will not settle in his current situation.

“I am unwilling to accept this until the day I die,” he said in an interview with The Washington Post.

Through more than four years of excruciating recovery, Peck has documented his journey on John Peck’s Journey Facebook page. Since his story broke, there’s been an outpouring of support.

Thankful for the well wishes, Peck has announced a live Q&A session that will be hosted on the John Peck’s Journey Facebook page Thursday, October 6 at 8:00 pm EST.

Peck’s story not only serves as an inspiration for those who are recovering from injuries of war, but should resonate heavily with those who are still in pursuit of their culinary goals.


Military Brownie Recipe: 26 Pages Long

“Whole eggs may be liquid or frozen and shall have been processed and labeled in accordance with the Regulations Governing the Inspection of Eggs and Egg Products (7 CFR Part 59).” Yes that is in a brownie recipe.The Pentagon has created this recipe that follows very specific rules and regulations to make just the right kind of brownies for our troops. Why is all this necessary to make ordinary brownies you might ask? It is because these are not just your normal baked goods. If the directions are followed exactly and if the brownies are packaged well, these treats can last up to three years. The taste however, according to NPR, has much left to be desired with its dense, dry, and crumbly texture and flavor. The Pentagon just updated this recipe, but not to make it shorted, it is now 31 pages long. Probably make you think twice from now on about making brownies huh?