Gather ’round and read this lovely story (that I stole from Pepperidge Farm’s website).

Man, I’ve been a sucky Goldfisherman lately.  To the 0-2 readers I have each day, I apologize for not blogging, it’s been a cray-cray summer.

Since the educational system in our country is deeply flawed and this isn’t taught in schools, I will take it upon myself to teach a history lesson on how Goldfish crackers came about.  As you will soon discover, it is the most important event in the history of mankind.  To quote the great Master of Ceremonies Hammer, “Ring the bell, schools in, sucka”.

Pepperidge Farm founder Margaret Rudkin was one of the great business leaders of her time. She was born Margaret Fogarty in New York City in 1897, the oldest of five children in a second-generation Irish family. A striking young woman with bright red hair and green eyes, Margaret graduated valedictorian of her high school class, and then spent nine years working in New York before marrying Wall Street Broker Henry Rudkin in 1923.

Fourteen years later, Margaret was a 40-year-old-mother of three young sons, living in Fairfield, Connecticut on a beautiful property called Pepperidge Farm—named for an ancient Pepperidge tree that grew there. The Rudkins had moved into Pepperidge Farm in 1929—the same year as the great Stock Market Crash. The Rudkins faced many challenges during the Great Depression—but as parents, one of the most difficult challenges was dealing with the severe allergies and asthma of their youngest son, whose condition made him unable to eat most commercially processed foods.

Based on the advice of a specialist, Margaret put him on a diet of fruits and vegetables and minimally processed foods. Then one day Margaret decided to try baking him some all-natural stone ground whole wheat bread with vitamins and nutrients intact. At a time when puffy, aerated white bread dominated the market, many skeptics—including her son’s doctor—didn’t think it was possible to bake nutritious bread that was also delicious. Margaret proved them wrong.

an entrepreneur emerges Photo: an entrepreneur emerges
Having never baked bread before in her life, Margaret’s early progress was slow. “My first loaf should have been sent to the Smithsonian Institution as a sample of Stone Age bread, for it was hard as a rock and about one inch high,” Margaret quipped. “So I started over again, and after a few more efforts by trial and error, we achieved what seemed like good bread.”Margaret’s bread was much more than “good”—it was the best bread her family and friends ever had. Her son loved it, and it helped his health so much that his doctor actually “prescribed” it to many of his patients. Dr. Donaldson even endorsed her bread saying, “When Mrs. Rudkin makes bread, she makes bread—the finest bread the world has ever known.”

Photo: the birth of pepperidge farm the birth of pepperidge farm
She approached her local grocer to see if he would be willing to sell her “Pepperidge Farm” bread, but he was skeptical. Not only was Margaret new to the grocery trade, but she had the cheek to insist that her premium bread be sold for 25 cents a loaf to cover her costs– even though the going price for bread was 10 cents.To convince the reluctant grocer, Margaret sliced up her savory bread and gave him a taste. In an instant, the sale was hers. The grocer not only took all the loaves that she brought, but by the time she arrived back home, he had left a phone message asking for more. “Although I knew nothing of manufacturing, of marketing, of pricing or of making bread in quantities, with that phone call, Pepperidge Farm bread was born,” Margaret later said.Henry Rudkin began carrying Margaret’s bread with him on the train to Grand Central Terminal to be sold at specialty shops in New York City. And as word about the extraordinary product got around, the tiny company grew. It had no business model, no strategic plan. Margaret just baked the bread by hand in her kitchen, making sure that every loaf was as good as it could be.yadda yadda yadda, she was successful.. getting to the Goldfish soon, I promise…

During the 1950s, the Rudkins often traveled to Europe. On a visit to Belgium, Margaret became captivated by a unique collection of fancy chocolate cookies produced by the purveyors to the Belgian Royal House. Margaret bought the rights to produce and sell the delicate biscuits under the banner of Pepperidge Farm. Half a century later, Milano®, Brussels®, and Bordeaux®—are still some of their most popular products.

The next European discovery came in Switzerland in the 1960s. The Rudkins discovered a unique little fish-shaped cracker that Margaret knew would be another winning addition for Pepperidge Farm. And of course, the rest is history. Irresistible Goldfish® crackers soon took America by storm, and they remain the best food ever invented (OK I ad-libbed that part).

So basically, if it weren’t for Margaret Rudkin, a whole bunch of people would’ve died because her bread was life-saving.  It may have been your ancestors, so you owe your life to her.  Pay tribute by eating a bag of the white cheddar Flavor Blasted Goldfish because they are awesome.

Class dismissed.

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