Friday, March 28, 2008

Pep-Up Meals with Wise (featuring Peppy)

Who-oo wouldn't want to eat waffles and meat loaves made of America's #1 junkfood (and favorite vegetable), the potato chip? Who-oo thinks there's no place for the chip in brownies, cheese souffles, and French toast? Not the Wise Potato Chip Co. of beautiful Berwick, Pennsylvania! In 1921, the Wise Delicatessen Company began to package and market their potato chips. It was actually one of the earliest major brands to be sold in stores, beating Lay's by a decade.

Recipes That Pep-Up Meals with Wise Potato Chips was published in 1957, seven years before they were acquired by Borden. The pictures are pure magic, and the book is made all the more special by the illustrations of the Disney-quality spokesowl, Peppy. Before we start to look over those magical pictures, it might be beneficial to note that Dorothy Wise, home economist of Wise Potato Chips, wrote in the forward to this cookbook, 'We will remember that still the easiest, most popular way to 'pep-up' any meal or party is simply to serve crisp, golden, flavorful Wise Potato Chips... Keep several packages on hand, always.'

Front cover dishes: Beef Loaf, Graham Cracker Chip Crust with Lemon Chiffon, Baked Tomatoes with Chip Cheese Topping, and Chip Waffles on an inviting turquoise background. Personally, I demand more vegetables with chip cheese topping. The cheese should either be a block of Velveeta or a jar of gooey Cheez Whiz. This is our only full-color image of Peppy, the Wise spokesowl. The other highlight of the (back)cover is the nice image of the Wise packaging from the late 1950s.

Fried, bechipped appetizers as far as the eye can see! And, for the person who doesn't instantaneously salivate at the sight of chip-encrusted shrimp trying to peer at their beautiful reflections in sanguine pools of cocktail sauce, there's always the classic, unadulterated Chips-In-A-Bowl (regular and Ridgies). As far as the recipes pictured on this page, the book claims that the dishes are (Match the recipe name to the picture. Answers posted tomorrow): Chip and Cheese Wafers, French Fried Shrimp, Hot Crispy Cheese Snacks, Snappy Ham and Egg Balls (I'll give you a hint: this one's pinned to the animal from which one of its ingredients was extracted).

A few scenes of Peppy in action. Apparently Peppy is having a cocktail party! First, he sets up the buffet, and then he carries out a tray of appetizers!

The Wise Bakery: Chip Coffee Cake, French Toast, Crunchy Biscuits, and Cinnamon Rolls (better than Cinnabon!). The most intriguing part of this baking scene is the French Toast (on the leaf plate). It looks like no French Toast I've ever seen!

Potato chips aren't just for between meals anymore. Now, they can be used in your entrees to add that crunch of class (and, sometimes, the sogginess of sophistication). Be sure not to garnish with the green ones (though, Dorothy Wise suggests that the green or burnt chips add an unexpected dash of color and should be used)! Dishes here include Seafood Scallop on Potato Chips (dare I say, a wise choice if you're having the boss over for dinner), Cheese Souffle, and Stuffed Hamburgers (stuffed with a thick paste made of coarsely crushed potato chips and served with potato sticks! That's two servings of vegetables right there!).

Celebrate the holidays with the Wise family! Chip Stuffing fills the magnificent bird, garnished not with the traditional roasted potatoes and carrots but an impressive ring of greasy potato chips! 'I'm thankful that Mom's such a swell cook!,' the kids will exclaim. Chips also go well with other vegetable dishes. This page shows off Corn and Mushrooms with Chip Topping and Sweet 'N' Sour Spinach with Chip Topping. Unfortunately, Wise did not market a package of pre-done Chip Topping. I think they would have made a killing had they done so. Cooks everywhere would have saved a lot of time and effort if they didn't have to make their own from scratch! And, maybe Chip Topping would be the most popular topping today!

The Wise table at the bake sale. My favorite is the Quick Cake with Chocolate Crunch Topping.

And.. Potato Chips. The original 'no fuss or bother' snack. This might be my favorite picture from the entire cookbook. It's bright and exciting, and the whole spread is on the most beautiful tabletop I've ever seen!

Wise Potato Products are produced in America's largest and most modern potato chip plant.

Peckish for a few Wise potato chips now? Have a look at's list of Wise reviews!


Bart Laube said...

cool stuff just found it looking for pictures of crackers, love creepy/cool old food photography!

Maria said...

Me, too! Thanks for the comment! (Might I also say that I enjoyed looking at your artwork.. I particularly liked your illustration of Debbie Reynolds! You did a gorgeous job!)