Tomato Juice (1938)

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Mon Jul 30 05:11:53 UTC 2001

   An American classic.  OED has 1935.  I'll present a small puzzle at the end of this, so stay tuned.
   From the NEW YORK HERALD TRIBUNE, 25 October 1938, pg. 14, col. 6:

_Fall-Pack Tomato Juice Marks_
_Industry's Tenth Anniversary_
_First "Love-Apple" Juice Was Packed for Baby-_
   _Food Market, COcktail Trade Now Leads_
   _Field; Six-Ounce Tins Introduced_
   By Clementine Paddleford
   This year's new crop of tomato juice arriving on the New York market marks the tenth birthday of the tomato-juice industry.  Prior to 1928 tomato juice as we know it today did not exist either in or out of the can.
   In the beginning of the tomato-canning industry the tomato's juice was a nuisance and nothing more.  Tomatoes were packed dry.  Lakes of the bright red love apple's juice flowed away unwanted.  Canners were too busy educating the public against the traditional fear of the deadly "nightshade apple" to care much what happened to the juice.  Small consequence!  But certain individuals were discovering its use.
   WAIST-LINE COCKTAIL--In the Bankers Club of America during 1920 a group of business men met regularly at the same luncheon table.  Among them was a stocky executive named Henry Willie Phelps, who had discovered his own panacea for a too wide waist line.  He began each luncheon with a glass of tomato juice.  The results were visibly satisfactory and others at the round table adopted the practice too.
   About this time an American-born French chef began serving tomato juice at a fashionable hotel at French Lick Springs, Ind., at 40 cents a glass, and demonstrated that it rivaled the local spring water for putting pep into tired Chicago business men.  Restored by a few weeks at this resort, executives returned home to urge the serving of tomato juice cocktails in their favorite lunching spots, and everywhere pediatricians were prescribing tomato juice in the baby's formula.  Still no canning manufacturer was excited about handling the juice commercially because of previous expensive and futile attempts.  Each year thousands of cans of tomatoes and tons of fresh tomatoes were put through kitchen sieves to serve in the dinner-cocktail glass and the baby's nursing bottle.
   TRAIL BLAZERS--At the close of the World War an Indiana boy returned home to find his father had purchased a financially involved canning plant that once had been a pioneering adventure of his grandfather's.  Without any previous experience this young man was drafted from the army into the canning game.  Within two years two brothers had joined the business, which had grown from one plant into three.  Two items were canned, tomatoes and corn.
   It was an Indianapolis baby doctor who gave the boys their big idea.  "I am sick and tired," he said, "squeezing juice from canned tomatoes.  Women are too.  Why don't you fellow do something about it.  Process tomato juice and sell it wholesale."  The brothers began wrestling with the problem. (...)

(WAIT A MINUTE!  Wait just one darned minute!  Harry's Bar in Paris invented the Bloody Mary in 1921.  Everyone knows that.  Last year's BLOODY MARY book said that.  Or maybe it was 1923.  BUT THERE WAS NO CANNED TOMATO JUICE UNTIL 1928!  And tomato juice was intended at that time for CHILDREN!  Hmmmmm--ed.)

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