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Subject: ARCHIVE: March 4, 1920 ~It was a century ago, food company exec Morrie Yohai, best known for his creation of world-famous Cheez Doodles, a cylindrical baked cornmeal puff most often with a cheddar cheese flavor, was born! ~Happy 100th! ...

Mr. Yohai died in 2010.
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Date Posted: Wednesday, March 04, 12:02:27am
In reply to: jlp 's message, "Mar.4th~Happy 113th Birthday! Supercentenarian Maria Branyas, Supercentenarian Miyo Hatakeyama is 112, Footballs Ben Reiges is 100, Editor Russell Freeburg is 97, Conductor Bernard Haitink is 91, Actress Blanka Bohdanova is 90, Director Yvan Butler is 90, Educator/Artist Ron Rodecker turns 90." on Tuesday, March 03, 09:02:48pm

American food company executive best known for his creation of Cheez Doodles,
a cylindrical baked cornmeal puff most often with a cheddar cheese flavor. ...

Morrie Robert Yohai
(March 4, 1920 July 27, 2010)

Yohai was born on March 4, 1920, in Harlem to Jewish immigrants from Turkey and grew up in the Bronx. He earned his undergraduate degree in 1941 from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He worked for Grumman Aircraft after graduating from college and enlisted in the United States Navy during World War II. He pursued flight training, assuming that since he knew how to build planes he would know how to fly them. He was shifted to the United States Marine Corps and piloted planes in the South Pacific.

Yohai was the president of Old London Foods, a food products company originally established in the 1920s by two men, Robert J. Yohai and Robert A. Yohai (his father and his cousin), as King Kone. The company had manufactured ice cream cones and would later produce cheese crackers, popcorn and Melba toast. The company was looking for a new snack in the 1950s and had a machine that could extrude cornmeal under pressure through a narrow hole that would be cut to three-inch lengths by a blade. Baked with orange cheddar cheese and flavorings, Yohai gave them the name "Cheez Doodles". The name came to him while he sat around the table with other employees sampling different alternatives for the cheese flavoring. In 1965, the company was bought out by Borden, which also made Cracker Jack and Drake's cakes. In April 1967, Yohai was named as group vice president at Borden Foods and as chairman of the firm's Old London Foods and Wise Potato Chips divisions. Yohai recalled that one of his responsibilities involved making decisions as to which tiny toys would be included as prizes in packages of Cracker Jack.

Yohai was proud of his association with Cheez Doodles, and fondly retained a photograph of Julia Child eating from a bag. Attending a 2004 display of a work by Sandy Skoglund at a Napa Valley museum depicting several life-size figures covered in Cheez Doodles, his wife proudly told the gathered guests that her husband had invented the product.

Yohai left Borden after the company relocated to Columbus, Ohio. He started teaching at the New York Institute of Technology and was chosen to serve as the associate dean of the college's school of management. In his later years Yohai became involved with Jewish mysticism and Torah study. An author of two books and 500 poems, he was one of the founders of the annual New York Sephardic Jewish Film Festival.

A resident of Kings Point, New York, he lived in a luxurious home on Long Island Sound, which his wife would call "the house that Cheez Doodles bought". He died at age 90 at his home there on July 27, 2010, due to cancer, and was buried at Mount Hebron Cemetery in Flushing, NY. He was survived by his wife, the former Phyllis Marcus who he had married in 1947, as well as by a daughter, Babs, a son, Robbie, and a granddaughter, Jasmine Yohai.



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Subject Author Date
Other birthdays, Mar. 4-Happy birthdays!Wednesday, March 04, 12:43:36pm
Actor Alan MacNaughtan was also born 100 years ago today (died 2002)Appeared in "Patton", "Frankenstein Created Woman"Wednesday, March 04, 12:53:24pm

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