Most Native Texans, and southerners in general, have probably never heard of Cheese Doodles. But everyone around here knows Cheetos. Whatever brand you love, the crunchy, orange snack is now enjoyed around the world. Cheese doodle is a colloquial way of referring to the cheesy snacks bound to leave your fingers bright orange.
The cheese-coated snack come in a variety of shapes, sizes and flavors — puffed or crunchy, fried or baked — and 15 million pounds are produced annually. Their popularity is why March 5 is celebrated as Cheese Doodle Day.
What the Heck are Cheez Doodles?
Cheez Doodles are a cheese-flavored cheese puff snack — similar to the more popular Frito-Lay’s Cheetos Puffs. They were developed several years after Cheetos debuted in the 1950s, and they were originally manufactured by King Kone Corp. in the Bronx (New York). They quickly became a prevalent, cheesy snack on the East Coast.
Cheez Doodles have been owned by various companies. Their current owner, Wise Foods, is owned by Arca Continental, the second largest Coca-Cola bottler in South and Central America. The chips remain one of the strongest and most marketed brands by Wise.
They say imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, and in food products, that’s certainly a common theme. Just like Pepsi-Cola came to market after Coca-Cola became a hit, Cheez Doodles arrived not long after Cheetos began flying off grocery and convenience store shelves. However, die-hard fans claim Cheez Doodles are not a copy-cat, but instead, the better cheesy snack.
By Any Other Name, They’re Still Delicious
Cheese doodles are also known as cheese puffs, cheese curls, cheese balls, cheese poofs, cheesy poofs or sometimes even corn cheese. To create a cheese doodle, hot corn is shaped and then dusted with a distinctive cheese flavoring. There are also now several similar varieties made without cheese. Some are referred to as puff corn, while others are flavored with honey and salt or mixed with rice and then puffed.
According to followers of this odd holiday, “Cheez Doodles fingers” is the official term used to describe the cheese powder on your fingers after eating any cheese flavored snack food.
Biographers say Cheez Doodles are one of the only packaged snack foods enjoyed by world-famous chef Julia Child. They are also the preferred snack of ESPN NBA analyst Stephen A. Smith. Moreover, they are also the favorite snack of Lincoln Peirce’s comic character Big Nate.
So celebrate the day and open up a bag of your favorite cheese doodles today!