Democrat and Chronicle from Rochester, New York on October 18, 2015 · Page A16
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Democrat and Chronicle from Rochester, New York · Page A16

Rochester, New York
Issue Date:
Sunday, October 18, 2015
Page A16
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Page16A Sunday,October18,2015 DemocratandChronicle. com 626 W. Main St., Rochester • (585) 235-6328 Monday-Saturday 8:30-5:30 • Sunday 8:30-2:00 THIS WEEK’S SPECIALS S7B9?C:D GEE> O9HEFB@ A=H< H<@E;6< O9HEFB@ G8H< Only while supplies last. We accept EBT, debit and credit cards. Restaurants welcome. BONE IN PRIME RIB ROAST OR STEAK $ 5 99/lb BONELESS CENTER CUT PORK LOIN $ 1 29/lb 4-6 lb avg weight no charge for cutting BONE IN SPLIT CHICKEN BREAST 99 ¢/lb BEEF BOTTOM ROUND ROAST OR STEAK $ 3 49/lb SLICED BACON 99 ¢/ea Frozen 12 oz Package BONELESS PRIME RIB ROAST OR STEAK $ 6 99/lb FRESH GROUND CHUCK $ 2 49/lb 5 lb or more BONELESS SKINLESS CHICKEN BREAST $ 1 49/lb Find us on Facebook: MainMeatsRochester DC-0000361587 Less than a mile off 490! Main Street Meats & Groceries Jefferson Ave 33 LAST DAY TO Vote Us #1 Meat Market & Italian Sausage in Rochester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he R.T. French Co. “made mustard what it is today” and also introduced Americans to instant mashed potatoes during the company’s long reign in Rochester. French’s employed nearly 1,000 people here a t its peak and sponsored c ooking contests for kids a nd the “Academy A wards” of cookbooks. “Home economists” at French’s test kitchens at One Mustard St. conceived thousands of recipes that were listed on French’s product labels. The company ran cooking shows with hosts like Trudy McNall, whose Home Cooking series made her an early star of Rochester TV. While the French’s c ompany is still going strong, its ties to Rochester were cut decades ago. So Whatever Happened To… French’s in Rochester? First, let’s look back at the company’s history. Robert Timothy French was a spice trader i n Elmira who started his own company in 1880. One o f his sons, George, visited Fairport on a business trip three years later and liked what he saw enough t o buy a mill and move the business there. When an 1885 fire destroyed the mill, French’s moved to Brown’s Race n ear the Upper Falls in R ochester. While the company manufactured spices and extracts, George’s brother, Francis, lobbied for a new kind o f prepared mustard, one t hat was milder, lighter and creamier than the mustards of the time. By 1904, the company had developed its signature item —French’s Cream Salad B rand Mustard, which was introduced at the St. Louis World’s Fair and immediately became a big hit. The recipe has remained essentially the same since, while the name has slightly changed. T he R.T. French Co. moved to a new headquar- t ers off East Main Street in 1912. The address became part of the company’s ads: “Good things to e at come from 1Mustard Street.” French’s mustard became far and away the industry leader, once maintaining a reported 50 p ercent share of all must ard sold in the United States. But there was a lot more to the company than just mustard, as we shall see. F rench’s introduced t he “Hot Dan the Mustard Man” advertising campaign in 1932 and began attaching Hot Dan spoons to jars of mustard. The campaign continued to be t he keystone of French’s advertising until it was phased out in the 1940s. The spoons became a hot item for collectors who fondly remembered Hot Dan, as Peter B. Taub wrote in a 1982 Times- Union column. “ For such a small item, it was surprising how pop- u lar they were,” French’s top ad man told Taub. “Thousands of people wrote in for them, and F rench’s mailed them in a special cardboard tube. A lot of women said the spoons were the best thing they could find for f eeding their babies.” B y 1946, French’s made another major culinary contribution to the culture. British researchers had developed a process f or instant mashed pota- t oes during World War II, and French’s brought the product to the masses. As John Rumsey wrote in a 1986 Times-Union story, “The world’s first comm ercial production of instant mashed potatoes began in 1946 at French’s headquarters, One Mustard Street.” French’s entered the dry foods business in the 1950s and developed products like gravy and sauce p ackets in Rochester. As the years went by, F rench’s got into countless other products, even dog treats. The company acquired Widmer Wine C ellars of Naples, Ontario County, at one time. French’s later diversified into non-food items like ceramics and artist sup- p lies. B ut it was the creamy yellow mustard for which French’s has always been known best. It was revolutionary to American pal- a tes; before French’s, the o nly mustard that most people knew was a hot, dark brown pepper. And for decades, it was made in Rochester. That ended in 1973. French’s parent company, which had owned the firm since the 1920s, moved manufacturing operations to Springfield, Mo. “The pleasant spicy scent that permeated the air around Mustard Street s oon faded,” wrote Karen Deyle in the book Rochester Eats/75 Years of Classic Faves & Craves . Headquarters and the test kitchens remained in Rochester, and about 250 people still worked there. French’s bought land in P erinton in the mid-1970s and company officials t alked about moving there. That never occurred. A group of buildings that French’s had u sed for production were demolished at the end of the decade. French’s continued to diversify its product line, entering the h ome products business. I n 1986, French’s ended its 19-year sponsorship of the prestigious Tastemaker Awards, which were presented for outstanding c ookbooks at an annual c eremony in New York City. (Kathy Lindsley called them the “Acad- emy Awards for cookbooks” in a Times-Union story that year.) The next year, French’s announced its plans to leave Rochester comp letely. Office operations and test kitchens were transferred to New Jersey. The news hit Roches- terians hard. AFrench’s official called it “the end of an era.” Phil Ebersole wrote in a Democrat and Chroni cle story that the company’s yellow mustard jar “ was once as distinctive a symbol of Rochester as Eastman Kodak Co.’s yellow box of film.” A Demo- c rat and Chronicle editorial lamented, “No longer will the label on the familiar yellow jar say ‘Rochester, N.Y.’ Newcomers to t he city won’t know why t here’s a place called One Mustard Street … We’ve lost a piece of history.” Hillside Family of Agencies now occupies t he iconic One Mustard St. a ddress. Morrell is a Rochester- based freelance writer. WHATEVER HAPPENED TO ... French’s was made at 1Mustard St. ALAN MORRELL FILE PHOTO 1971 R.T. French Co. employees work on the mustard line in Rochester in 1971. About this featur e “Whatever Happened To ...?” is a feature that explores favorite haunts of the past and revisits the headlines of yesteryear. It’s a partnership between RocRoots.comand “Hometown Rochester”on Facebook. Have an idea you’d like us to explore? Email us at roc-roots@Democratand- STAFF FILE PHOTO 1969 Home Cooking with Trudy McNall on WROC-TV in 1969. ROCRoots

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