The Man Who Revolutionized Breakfast


As best we can tell, nobody has built a statue of Frank Dorsa. But someone should—the man revolutionized breakfast! In 1932, Dorsa joined up with his two brothers to start a food company in their parents’ basement. Their first project: perfecting mayonnaise. Dorsa crafted a delicious mayo, dubbed it Eggo for its rich flavor, and unleashed his brothers to sell the spread around their Northern California home. The media coverage speaks for itself. In 1939, the San Jose Evening News ran the breathless headline "Local Mayonnaise Is Highly Popular."

Dorsa wasn’t one to rest on his mayo-coated laurels, though. His next project was even more ambitious: a fresh waffle batter that would save cooks time. His Eggo batter was a smashing success, but as the Dorsa family business boomed, they hit a snag. Their market had grown so large they could no longer ship fresh batter.

After some experimentation, Dorsa found an answer. Instead of just making batter, the company would cook the waffles and ship them frozen. All customers needed to do was heat them up. Making the waffles was easy. Using a merry-go-round motor, he created a massive 30-foot rotating “waffle machine” that could crank out thousands of cooked waffles an hour. Eggo frozen waffles—originally called Froffles—debuted in 1953 and were an instant hit.

Dorsa lived to be 88 years old and had several other culinary triumphs, including a continuous vegetable peeler that revolutionized the potato chip industry. But there was one problem that vexed him throughout his life. His obituary noted: “He also experimented with frozen pancakes but could not come up with a satisfactory recipe.” Some tasks are too tall even for history’s greatest thinkers.

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