From left, Michael Perrie Jr., Stephen Shore and Karl Melberg in a scene from “The Food That Built America” show called “Pizza Wars.” IMDb photo

Way back in 2019, before COVID fell on us, we were all going to the movies, and no one was sitting home locked away from viruses in the streets

Meanwhile, while Notre Dame Cathedral was burning down, Brexit upended British politics, the 20-year war in Afghanistan was still burning, and the House was impeaching Donald Trump, something wonderful appeared on our screens, and apparently went right past me.

Season one of “The Food That Built America” appeared while we were watching “Fleabag,” “Watchmen” and “Succession.”

This week, while streaming for something entirely different from gun fire and car chases, we happened upon “The Food,” and sat through the first two seasons, captivated by it.

For your information, you might think you know all about the creation of Coca Cola, all of Kellogg’s cereals, that Hershey Bar and other chocolate bars you’re munching on, but trust me, you don’t.

We’ve all grown up with the rumors about cocaine in the original recipe of Coke.


There’s so much we don’t have a clue about on the discovery of Coca Cola and the myriad foodstuffs we eat.

The series reveals stories of the men, who from the Civil War to this decade, Henry Heinz and his ketchup, Milton Hershey and his candy, John and Will Kellogg, C.W. Post and their cereal inventions and the wars, battles, chicanery, failures and successes, right up to the McDonald brothers, and beyond.

Scan your pantry, do you see all those boxes of Kraft products? Watch “Food” and learn about James Kraft and the Swanson and Birdseye geniuses who created the Oreos, Cheetos and other foods we put in our mouths each day, in chapters that include ‘Breakfast Barons,” “Gum Slingers,” and “A Game of Chicken” that rip the cover off the KFC Colonel story.

“The Food That Built America” plays out like a series of movies, not in a dragging, boring documentary, but as full length movies, with powerful actors, writing and cinematography.

The series is directed by Patrick Reams and Ruán Magan and narrated by Campbell Scott, the son of famed actor George C. Scott, and streams now on Hulu.

J.P. Devine of Waterville is a former stage and screen actor.

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