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Fritos® Pie

Stories, Recipes, and More

Kaleta Doolin; Foreword by Davia Nelson

Publication Year: 2011

Fritos® Pie is an insider’s look at the never-before-told story of the Frito Company written by Kaleta Doolin, daughter of the company’s founder. Filled with personal anecdotes, more than 150 vintage and newly created recipes, and stories, this book recounts the company’s early days, the 1961 merger that created Frito-Lay, Inc., and beyond. In 1932 C. E. Doolin, the operator of a struggling San Antonio confectionery, purchased for $100 the recipe for a fried corn chip product and a crude device used to make it, along with a list of nineteen customer accounts. From that humble beginning sprang Fritos® (“fries” in Spanish), a product that, thanks to Doolin’s marketing ingenuity and a visionary approach to food technology, would become one of the best-known brands in America. One of the first firms to utilize point-of-sale advertising, the Frito Company developed dozens of recipes intended to get American homemakers “Cooking with Fritos.” Indeed, Doolin shows that many of the vintage recipes developed by her grandmother, her father, and company employees became integral to the company’s marketing success. The book includes recipes—for everything from appetizers to desserts, all using Fritos as an ingredient—along with the author’s comments and anecdotes about her adventures experimenting with them in her kitchen. Doolin also draws upon hours of interviews with her mother, siblings, cousins, and many of her father's closest business associates as well as focused research in Frito-Lay corporate archives and other collections to paint a portrait of her father as not only an innovator in food marketing but also a visionary inventor, a forward-thinking agriculturalist, and an entrepreneur with an amazing grasp of detail.

Published by: Texas A&M University Press

Series: Tarleton State University Southwestern Studies in the Humanities


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pp. vii

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Foreword by Davia Nelson of The Kitchen Sisters

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pp. ix-xii

If you’re looking for hidden kitchen stories, Texas is a good place to start. It’s a state that’s chock full of iconic food with a good story behind it, food that says America. A man with a used potato ricer, some masa, and a dream. It’s the stuff our country is made of. We call them kitchen pioneers and visionaries. And Texas in the 1930s was swarming with them. Men, mostly, who dreamed up the 7-Eleven,...

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pp. xiii-xiv

In my family of origin, I am especially thankful to my paternal grandmother, Daisy Dean Doolin, for inventing the concept of cooking with Fritos; to my father, C. E. Doolin, for his ingenuity; to my mother, Mary Kathryn Doolin, for sharing her precious memories with me; to my oldest brother, Charles W. Doolin, for helping to illuminate our early years; to my older brother, Earl L. Doolin, for saving my life as a child;...

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pp. xv-xxii

My father , Charles Elmer Doolin, was one of four founders of the Frito Company, the company that made and continues to make Fritos® corn chips along with a variety of other snack foods. Charles Elmer (or “C. E.,” as he was called) Doolin was also the husband of Mary Kathryn Coleman Doolin, a farm girl fresh out of college with a single year of teaching in a one-room schoolhouse under her belt when they got married. During the...

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Chapter 1 San Antonio

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pp. 1-11

Corn chips, which are derived from corn masa like that used in tortillas, were originally developed by Gustavo Olguin. My father worked for him as a fry cook for a short time. Olguin had been a soccer coach in his native Mexico. He and his business partner, whose name doesn’t survive, wanted to move back to Mexico, so they sold Gustavo’s recipe, his adapted hand-operated potato ricer, and nineteen...

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Chapter 2 Cooking with Fritos

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pp. 12-30

In 1937 the Frito Company created a point-of-sale department. (“Point of sale” refers to marketing that is used in stores, such as rack headers and recipe folders; the point-of-sale department has since been replaced by two departments, marketing and sales.) The point-of-sale department came up with the idea for a “Cooking with Fritos"...

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Chapter 3 Frito Kids

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pp. 31-57

My paternal grandparents, Charles Bernard and Daisy Dean Doolin, moved to San Antonio from Kansas City in 1909. They came to Texas because my grandfather’s health required warmer weather—he had a lingering illness that may have been tuberculosis—and because they had relatives who lived in Uvalde, Texas, near Big Wells. I’ve been told my grandmother’s parents...

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Chapter 4 Diversification

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pp. 58-67

Dad decided to diversify into potato chips and various other snack foods long before he met Herman Lay. I found a letter Dad wrote to his parents (he addresses them as “Papa and Mama”) in 1934, soon after his move to Dallas to open a new headquarters. In the letter he writes, “I experimented with potato chips last night and although not entirely successful, [the result] was...

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Chapter 5 Cattle and Corn

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pp. 68-80

Even though my father is best known as the premier founder of the Frito Company, he had his finger in many pies, and he was an active, creative, and wide-ranging entrepreneur. Hybridizing corn; cross-breeding cattle (Brahma bulls with Black Angus cows, producing a hardier cross-breed of Brangus cattle for sale), developing,...

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Chapter 6 Inventors and Inventions

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pp. 81-94

Dad was constantly coming up with ideas to help sales, and he liked to tinker and invent devices that would improve the business. He and my Uncle Earl learned about patents from my paternal grandfather, C. B. Doolin, a steam engineer who owned a garage where he repaired steam engines. He also sold tires—vehicle tires were solid...

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Chapter 7 Ronald

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pp. 95-104

I n January 2008 I took a trip to interview my half-brother Ronald Elmer Doolin. Until then, the last time I had seen Ronald was seven years ago and before that, forty-seven years ago. When I met with him recently, I learned a lot of new things about my father and the history of the Frito Company. I knew before I got together with Ronald that what he had to say would show me the flip side of my father,...

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Chapter 8 Fritos Chili Pie

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pp. 105-116

Fritos Chili Pie, still one of the better-known Frito recipes and a traditional comfort food in the Southwest, is not a pie per se. The basic Frito pie simply consists of Fritos corn chips, chili, onions, and cheese. Any variations in the recipe usually involve the placement and texture of the Fritos and even the vessel in which the “pie” is made. Sometimes it’s prepared as a casserole or started in a Crockpot, but sometimes...

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Chapter 9 Natural Hygiene

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pp. 117-135

Dad had a weak heart and sought out the advice of Dr. Herbert M. Shelton rather than follow the American Medical Association’s prescribed practices. Shelton graduated from the American School of Naturopathy with two doctoral degrees—one in naturopathy and one in naturopathic literature. He also got a doctor of chiropractic degree from the American School of Chiropractic. During the late 1940s Dr. Shelton’s...

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Chapter 10 Desserts

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pp. 136-146

Although in my family we almost never ate dessert or anything else with refined sugar in it, I was encouraged to learn to bake by my mother and my governess, Mrs. Verna Johnson. My first lesson as a dessert-maker was baking pineapple upside-down cake. Mrs. Johnson taught me how to make this simple but delicious cake with pineapple rings, maraschino cherries, brown sugar, butter,...

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Chapter 11 Then and Now

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pp. 147-154

I recently met Indra Nooyi for the first time. She is the current CEO of PepsiCo. (Frito Lay merged with PepsiCo in 1965.) PepsiCo is a conglomerate made up of Pepsi, Frito Lay, Tropicana, Quaker, and Gatorade. Having read about Indra in the cover story of the March 2008 issue of Fortune magazine, I felt as if I knew her already. I was impressed by the similarities between her and my dad. In bold...

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Chapter 12 Cooking with Fritos Today

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pp. 155-172

I love to update classic recipes. I have been tasting lots of Southwestern foods and developing my own recipes as well as variations on some of the vintage Fritos recipes included in this book. My thinking about cooking has evolved in recent years. And my repertoire of ingredients has grown to include a range of different types...

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pp. 173-175

When Charles Elmer Doolin organized The Frito Company in 1932 it employed four people, making a single product, in a single make-shift plant with sales at an annual rate of about one thousand dollars. Twenty-seven years later, the company and its related enterprises had grown to include twenty-one plants in eleven states and to employ three thousand five...

Appendix 1 Recommended Reading

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pp. 177-179

Appendix 2 Timelines

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pp. 180-183

Appendix 3 Letter from C.E. Doolin to the Frito Bandwagon

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pp. 184

Appendix 4 Doolin Family and Frito Company Patents

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pp. 185

Appendix 5 Recipes by Chapter

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pp. 186-188

Appendix 6 Web Sites

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pp. 189


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pp. 191-201

E-ISBN-13: 9781603442572
E-ISBN-10: 160344257X
Print-ISBN-13: 9781603442565
Print-ISBN-10: 1603442561

Page Count: 224
Illustrations: 75 color, 69 b&w photos. 5 line art. 6 apps. Index.
Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: Tarleton State University Southwestern Studies in the Humanities