Friday, December 22, 2006


My sister Judy in New England sent me Drake's Funny Bones, a regional snack cake that's not available in the northwest. Since I kind of grew up with them, it's a real treat to eat these childhood favorites. It's funny how, in the WikiPedia entry for Drake's, they try to speculate about why the company can't expand out from New England despite repeated attempts:

"Expansion and sales have been so difficult for Drake's because...
... many people are reported to have not liked the cakes' taste. They have a unique and distinct devil's food cake consistency, which is somewhat drier when compared to most other widespread brands, such as Hostess and Dolly Madison. The yellow ("golden") cakes also have a very distinctive taste. This is very tasty to people familiar with it, but those not familiar tend not to be able to get themselves to like it. So it appears that the products may be destined to remain primarily a Northeastern novelty."

This is just silly, they're delicious, and not weird or different at all.

They also go into the legal battle surrounding Ring Dings, Ding Dongs, King Dons etc.

"At one point in the past, a legal conflict erupted, when Hostess began producing a cake that looked like Drake's popular "Ring Dings", and even named it "Ding Dongs". Hostess ended up having to change the name of this cake to "Big Wheels" in areas in which Drake's cakes were sold.
By the
1980s, Drake Bakeries was owned by the huge Borden food company, along with Cracker Jacks and Wise potato chips. In 1987, Borden sold the company to Ralston Purina, which owned ITT Continental Baking Company, makers of rival Hostess Cakes and Wonder Bread. This created a virtual monopoly in some areas, and it soon broke up. However, while this union lasted, Hostess was able to use the "Ding Dongs" name in the formerly restricted areas, but when the union was dissolved, instead of restoring the "Big Wheels" moniker, Hostess compromised with a new "King Dons" trademark for the affected areas. "

It's funny because it hints at a kind of cutthroat snack-cake-company rivalry, a game of simply copying your rival's popular products and hoping they don't sue you. Kind of like Microsoft, but with creamy filling.


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