I love food technology because it's such a strange combination of things: process engineering, flavor science, and things I ate yesterday. So, every Thanksgiving, I write a bunch of stories about how we breed larger turkeys, or why potato flakes exist, or the nature of cranberry jelly in a can.
To do so, I end up leafing through trade magazines like Food Manufacture, Food Processing, Food Engineering, Food Technology, and the Journal of Food Technology. And when I do, I marvel at the advertisements, especially the ones from the 1960s through the 1980s, the heyday for this sort of trade lit.
The ads are simultaneously gross and fascinating. How do companies that make flavors or smells or deboning machines sell their services to each other? There's braggadocio and proto-Geico weirdness, jokes and puns, flattery and chemistry.
This is a trip into the day-to-day work concerns of the people who brought you Pringles, Cheez Whiz, Pop-Tarts, frozen juice in a can, TV dinners, boxed mac-n-cheese, and all the other stuff in the center aisles of the grocery store. These are the people Michael Pollan warned you about, or at least their ancestors.
Anyway, enjoy: You have to check out the ads to really see what I'm talking about.
This post is based on a version we published on November 27th, 2013.