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The History of Fritos

In 1932, San Antonio shop owner Charles Elmer Doolin came across a classified listing that was offering a corn chips business for sale. Intrigued, Doolin reached out and met with Gustavo Olguin, a Mexican cook who had perfected a recipe for chips by frying corn masa. Olguin was moving back to Oaxaca and was in need of cash; Doolin reportedly paid him $100 for a list of his clients, the modified potato ricer he used to make them, and the recipe. Doolin’s mother, Daisy, pawned her wedding ring to help raise the cash. She also allowed Doolin to cook his chips in her kitchen and even created several recipes to help showcase the versatility of the new product. While Charles Doolin did not invent the chips that became Fritos — that honor belongs to Gustavo Olguin — he did make several key changes, including figuring out how to mass-produce and market them. He even worked with Texas farmers to develop his own special hybrid corn variety that provided the perfect flavor when turned into Fritos! In 1945, Doolin’s Frito Company began working with Herman W. Lay’s potato chip business. In 1961, the two companies merged to form the modern snack giant Frito-Lay. Today, Fritos remain a beloved snack food and are sold all over the world. In the United States, Fritos are typically sold in their original flavor, but international Fritos come in different varieties, including South Africa’s chutney-flavored Fritos and Mexico’s chorizo and chipotle Fritos.

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