Discover: Cookbook Features Ad for Fast-cooking Pasta

As humorous as the image may be to our modern sense of humor, quick-cooking macaroni was nearly as much of a game changer as sliced bread.  The story behind quick-cooking macaroni, and the beginning of quick and easy cooking methods, is quite interesting.

The recipe for making pasta has changed very little over time, just eggs and flour.  The process is not a fast one, however.  At the turn of the 19th century, lifestyles were changing.  Women began working outside the home, people’s lives became busier and the need for using faster cooking methods increased.  Enter James T. Williams. Williams borrowed $100 in 1896 to open a dry foods store in Minneapolis.  He recognized the changing cooking needs and started working to develop a faster cooking pasta.  By 1912, he had refined the method of making elbow macaroni, which cooked quickly.  The macaroni had thinner walls and a bigger opening, allowing it to cook faster—enter Quickies.

Williams named his macaroni Creamette©, which became a staple for families in Minnesota.  The story does not end there however.  Creamette© was manufactured by the Minnesota Macaroni Company for a number of years until Williams purchased the firm and renamed the company Creamette©. The Williams family ran the company until 1979 when it was sold to Borden. Today, Creamette©  is part of Riviana Foods Inc.

—Wendy Petersen Biorn
Executive director, Carver County Historical Society