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 Anthropology of Food

to Sweet Treats around the World

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food trivia home

Haagen-Dazs ice cream.

What does "Häagen-Dazs" mean?

  1. "Happy Days"
  2. "High Life"
  3. "Danish Delight"
  4. It's a Family Name
  5. Absolutely Nothing

Niech Bóg błogosławi Amerykę!

"In the late 1920s, a young Polish immigrant named Reuben Mattus hitched up a horse and wagon and set out to peddle ice cream on the streets of the Bronx. After thirty years of moderate success with the old family recipe, Mattus decided to enrich it with egg yolks and a whopping 17 percent butterfat ("I can't be the only one in the world who wants something better," he told his daughter) and at the same time to give it a classier name."

"Having astutely observed that Americans were impressed by products with exotic foreign appeal and thus likely to pay more for them, he sat down with his wife, Rose, one evening and together they made up the absolutely meaningless and nearly unpronounceable 'Häagen-Dazs,' which they hoped would sound richly Scandinavian. To further the image, Mattus put a map of Denmark on the package. Then he doubled his price."

"I'll get a few accounts, I'll make a living," he predicted in what proved to be a stunning understatement: the super-rich ice cream was so popular that in 1983 when Mattus eventually sold the company (to Pillsbury) it fetched seventy million. Oddly, a year before his death Mattus did a complete about-face and brought out a 97 percent fat-free ice cream."

Jean Anderson. The American Century Cookbook: The Most Popular Recipes of the 20th Century. NY: Potter, 1997, p. 380.

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