It’s not often that we turn to the New York Times for a tender moment of bittersweet reflection, but perhaps we should. The first place to look is probably the obituaries section, where amongst the dead giants (Ted Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Bea Arthur) you can sometimes find an improbable, lesser, and equally interesting subject like Morrie Yohai.
Yohai is credited with creating the Cheez Doodle in the late 1950s but was always scrupulous about sharing the credit with his co-workers. The Times story does a superb job of painting a brief but vivid portrait of an interesting and productive life and its star product:
“First marketed in the late 1950s, Cheez Doodles soon became so popular that by 1965, Old London Foods was bought by Borden, and Mr. Yohai became vice president of Borden’s snack food division, which among other products made Drake’s Cakes and Cracker Jack. One of his duties, he said, was sitting around a table with other executives and choosing which tiny toys would be stuffed into Cracker Jack boxes.”
One of Yohai’s prized possessions? “A photograph of Julia Child digging into a bag [of Cheez Doodles].”