You know, we middle class smarty pants Americans didn’t always feed the kids organic micro-greens, line-caught fishes, and gruyere and Danish butter-laced macaronis for lunch. There was a time when mothers — or better yet, latch-key kids themselves! — cranked open cans of pre-made meals and sat down (in front of the TV) to eat.
Campbell’s SpaghettiO’s were once a classic lunch. You probably ate them too, perhaps even well into college. So you’ll be at the very least wistful of news that the creator of these bloated, tomato sauce soaked pasta rings has died.
Donald E. Goerke was 83.
Goerke created more than 100 products for the Campbell company. He was known in the 60s as the Daddy-O of SpaghettiOs (so corny!) for coming up with simple-yet-genius prepared food product. According to his LA Times obituary, there was a yearlong debate at the company over the shape of the pasta.
Goerke became impatient and finally put his foot down: “Enough already! We’re gonna do something that’s simple,” he told the Seattle Times in 1990.
Goerke credited the product’s success with the fact that it was spoonable for kids and easy for moms. But timing was also critical: when SpaghettiOs were introduced, the Baby Boom was at its peak. There were more than 20 million kids in the U.S. under the age of 5.
Another product with Goerke’s imprint: Chunky Soup.
If he had anything to do with Chef Boyardee Beef Ravioli, the guy should be a legend. Taste of love, people, taste of love.
Photo: LA Times