Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Queen of Treats

I don't want to make James Madison's wife sound whorish or anything, but she's the Queen of Treats. By which, I mean that she lends her name to some delicious food brands, though it's kind of difficult to see what her connection to these brands would be. Let's sort it all out, shall we?

Historical Aside: Before we start, it should be noted that she spelled her name Dolley Madison, not Dolly. Why these companies couldn't do a little research is beyond me.

First off, there's the Dolly Madison Bakery, which is a division of Hostess. I, personally, am a fan of their Zingers.
I actually used to refer to them as "off-brand snack foods," but since I just learned that they're owned by Hostess, I feel better about being the Zingers freak that I am. After all, has Hostess ever steered me wrong?
The connection between Dolley Madison and the Dolly Madison Bakery? Minimal. The bakery was founded in 1937, 88 years after Dolley Madison died. I found one site that assured me "that contrary to popular belief, the Zingers ... are not based on the first lady's recipes."

Duh. To put this more politely, this is good and not at all surprising. If I had to describe the taste of Zingers in three words, "preservative-y" would be two of those words. If Madison did create the Zinger, I'd imagine it would have a more natural taste, and would involve fewer ingredients that only became available in the 20th century. Oh, and it would also have a different name, since Merriam-Webster says that the word "zinger" was only first used in 1955.

Moving on to something cooler, since it's summer and we all need that...
Dolley Madison wasn't a blonde, but okay.
Growing up, we would sometimes have Dolly Madison ice cream. I can't remember much about it, except it was ice cream, which meant I probably loved it. I later found out that this brand name came from the fact that Madison invented ice cream / introduced it to the U.S. I found out later that these  trivia tidbits were varying degrees of wrong.

She did, however, serve ice cream at her husband's 1813 inauguration. It had already been introduced to the U.S. a few decades earlier, but I guess getting the inauguration treatment is a thing.

The ice cream brand with her name was founded in 1971. It still exists, though not at the level that Dolly Madison Bakery does. There was a location in Ronkonkoma, N.Y., which explains why I was familiar with it in the '80s, and there seems to be a location in Denver. I fail to see the benefits, business model-wise, of opening locations only in Eastern Long Island and Colorado. Maybe that's why the ice cream brand isn't as successful as the bakery.

That's a shame, really, because it makes me wonder what a Dolly Madison snack cake would taste like smothered in ice cream. Delicious, I presume, but I'd still like to be scientific about this and see for myself.

While I may not realize my dream of mixing Dolly Madison with Dolly Madison, you can visit our mixing of Mays Gilliam with James Madison. You know the drill: polls close on Friday, so get your votes/comments in, now!

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