Friday, June 1, 2012

Karo Corn Syrup


Wow, people used to get married young back in the old days... ok, not really.  This lovely ad for Karo Corn Syrup is from 1910 and coincides with an ad campaign launched by the president of corn products refining board.  He believed so fiercely in the dependable high quality and flavor of corn syrup that he spend an astonishing (for the time) $250,000 in ads for Karo corn syrup.  This ad is one of the most famous and the Karo Kids are featured again in full color on a Karo Cookbook initially released the same year.  Karo itself was invented in 1902 and name came from either the chemist that invented it who named it after his wife's nickname or was from an earlier syrup called "Kairomel" depending on who you ask.1



Most people don't use corn syrup very often, perhaps you have a bottle long forgotten hiding in the back corner of your cabinets.  Read the label, it probably says "High Fructose Corn Syrup" in the ingredients.  If it does toss it away (or keep it for posterity).  Karo now takes pride in that their products are just good old fashioned corn syrup.  Indeed, research has shown that plain corn syrup is little different nutritionally from sugar, but high fructose corn syrup is the real killer leading to obesity, high triglycerides and coronary disease.2  In short, corn syrup is best used for what it was originally intended, candy making.  High Fructose Corn Syrup on the other hand is best avoided at all cost as it's a major health hazard.

By the way, Pecan Pie was invented by the wife of a corporate sales executive at Karo around 1930.  That's why in the South it's often still referred to as "Karo Pie".1


Sources:
1) History of Karo Corn Syrup
2) "A Sweet Problem" Princeton University 2010

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