Other View: Rest in peace and sweetness, Charles Entenmann. You gave us happiness in a box
Thank goodness baby boomers didn’t know then what they know now. Otherwise, eating the seductive treasures found in a box of Entenmann’s would have been an even guiltier pleasure.
White flour has bad carbs and no nutritional value worth talking about. Refined white sugar? Don’t even ask. And gluten — ewww!
Of course, for boomers indulging their sweet tooth, ignorance was bliss. There was no guilt, only pleasure to be found in that fudge iced golden cake, the chocolate fudge iced cake — chocolate on chocolate, a double hit! — that cherry cheese danish and those hot cross buns. What did we forget? The crumb coffee cake — at one point, Frank Sinatra put in a weekly order. The pecan Danish twist. The glazed donuts — yeah, that’s how they spelled it. Live with it! — and the marble loaf cake.
We owe it all to Charles Entenmann and his family. Entenmann, 92, died last month in Hialeah, Florida. He was the last of three brothers who, along with their mother, Martha, produced some of the best known baked goods in the country.
More than a century earlier, his German grandfather got the ball rolling — pun intended — in Brooklyn, baking ... rolls.
After a move out to Bay Shore out on the Island, the company expanded and Charles and his bros eventually took over. He was a stickler for consistency. “The two-millionth piece of cake must not only be good — it must be as good as the first,” he told The New York Times in 1976. That was two years before his family sold the company to uber-manufacturer Warner-Lambert. And now, Entenmann’s is owned by Bimbo Bakeries USA, a division of a Mexican company. (Sara Lee is in its portfolio, too.)
Of course, there have been updates. That cellophane window on top of the box is gone — supply-chain issues, Bimbo says. And designer coffee flavors have been added.
But back in the day, Entenmann’s confections were not gourmet, they were not artisanal and they definitely weren’t locally sourced — unless you lived on Long Island.
But they made us fat and happy.
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