Seattle 1978

Seattle 1978

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Chun King

Happy Chinese New Year!

I found an interesting bit of history on Chun King and its founder here. Jeno Paulucci was the son of Italian immigrants noticing a market for take-home food flavored from the Orient.
Mr. Paulucci became fascinated with the legumes and the fact that they could grow year-round despite Minnesota’s harsh winters. He began cultivating his own stock and selling the sprouts to restaurants as a salad ingredient.
Passing through towns hawking his bean sprouts, Mr. Paulucci saw many Chinese food restaurants but noticed that most grocery stores didn’t offer any prepared Asian dishes.
“The food industry was missing the boat, allowing restaurants to handle all the take-home business,” he once said.
He came up with his own chop suey recipe by canning his sprouts and adding bits of celery, pimentos and an Italian herb mixture suggested by his mother.
In 1947, he was loaned $2,500 from a friend and started Chun King. Beginning in 1960, he hired radio comedian Stan Freberg to host the “Chun King Chow Mein Hour” in honor of the Chinese New Year.
Despite what you might think of the authenticity of Chun King grocery store items, I'm saluting "The American Way" entrepreneurship  and the blending of cultures to create a successful market for a product.

Enjoy these mid-century Chun King ads:


November 4, 1957 Life Magazine


December 16, 1957 Life Magazine


January 27, 1958 Life Magazine


March 31, 1958 Life Magazine


June 23, 1958 Life Magazine


July 21, 1958 Life Magazine


August 18, 1958 Life Magazine


September 15, 1958 Life Magazine


October 20, 1958 Life Magazine


November 10, 1958 Life Magazine


December 8, 1958 Life Magazine


January 12, 1959 Life Magazine

Just in time for Lent!

March 16, 1959 Life Magazine


June 22, 1959 Life Magazine

2 comments:

Amateur Cook said...

You have researched that nicely. It prompted me to Google Chun King and I found a wealth of information out there, as well as an old advetisement on YouTube. I don't usually post links in comments but here it is for anyone interested http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4_fLIPAfoY

Jana said...

Awesome find, Amateur Cook! Thanks for sharing!