Saturday, November 18, 2006

Kool-Aid Comes Of Age

If you remember Fruit Smack, you're probably pretty old, but if Kool-Aid sounds more familiar to you, you may be one of the millions of people who have drunk this tooth-rottingly sweet beverage since 1927. Kool-Aid is a popular 'non-carbonated soft drink' made from a mixture of fruit-flavored powder and water. Like our old friend Jell-O, it is manufactured by General Foods, and it has been since 1953, when Edwin Perkins of Hastings, Nebraska sold his six-flavored (cherry, grape, lemon-lime, orange, raspberry, and strawberry) invention to the corporation. The big question is: when was the Kool-Aid Man, one of the greatest American advertising personalities, introduced to the world? An early prototype of what would become the Kool-Aid Man was introduced within a year of General Foods' gaining ownership of the brand. At first, he was not so much a man as a full pitcher with several designs traced through the condensation. One of those designs, a friendly smiley face, stuck, and that pitcher gradually became the Kool-Aid Man we all know and love today. Oh, yeeah!

Unfortunately, the Kool-Aid Man doesn't figure into this booklet very much. Kool-Aid Comes Of Age, published in 1976, attempted very much a sort of sophistication that isn't normally associated with Kool-Aid. For those of you that think Kool-Aid is just for drinking, you'll be surprised at the wide array of wholesome food items that can be made using this stuff! For those of you that think that Kool-Aid isn't even for drinking, you'll be really shocked!

1. Front cover - various beverages, and is that a cheese ball?

2. Amid punch and a milkshake are two flourescent witches' brews (Easy Sodas)

3. With a Fruit and Nut Cheese Ball and some Sour Cream Dip, you'll have quite a shindig on your hands!

4. Kool-Aid's ghoulish answer to Halloween: Pitcherman Cake. Click here to read what they have to say on Halloween parties.

5. Snowballs, Pastel Cupcakes, Fruit-Flavored Sugar Cookies, Fruit-Flavored Ice Cubes, and a Creepy Doll: all made with Kool-Aid!

Kool-Aid seems to inspire more nostalgia than Jell-O. The amount of lovingly-compiled fan sites is amazing. Here are some insightful links:

Official Kraft Foods Kool-Aid page (more kid-centric than informative)
Kool-Aid at Wikipedia
The biggest Kool-Aid compendium online, the Kool-Aid FAQ
Kool-Aid Packet Photo Archive