My family grew up with Chef Boyardee. We saw his face on the wrapper of every can of spaghetti, ravioli, and beefaroni that we ate. We never associated him with a real person who had a real life. He was just a cartoon-like character in a toque blanche, about as real as Bugs Bunny or Daffy Duck to a pre-teen.

In fact, Chef Boyardee was a real person—Ettore Boiardi—who grew up in Piacienza, Italy, then emigrated to the United States.  Like so many successful people in our country, Boiardi grew up in obscurity, so no one knows exactly when he arrived here. The New York Times obituary said 1917, at age 20. The Wikipedia article said 1914, age 17.

The sources do agree he started working in a restaurant at age 11. After he arrived in the States, he started working at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. As Boiardi developed his craft, his customers began to notice him and asked him to make extra jars of spaghetti sauce for take-out. Then, he made spaghetti-kits for take-out, containing semolina pasta, spaghetti sauce, and pre-grated cheese. After a time, he opened his own restaurant under the name Il Giardino d'Italia.

He carefully guarded the quality of his product, bought a factory to produce cans of spaghetti, and preserved space in the basement for growing mushrooms. Then World War II came along, and much like George Hormel—with the same immigrant energy—Boiardi joined the War effort and went into high-gear to produce ration-kits for the nation's armed-forces.

At its peak, the Chef Boyardee Company employed 5,000 people, ran 24/7, and turned out 200,000 cans of product every day. At War's end, Chef Boyardee had to scale down its production and lay off its work-force. Rather than do that, Boiardi sold the company for $6,000,000 to the American Home Foods Corporation—the equivalent of $90,000,000 in today's dollars.

After the War, with Boiardi's assistance, the company retooled to provide for a civilian market, and it succeeded beyong Boiardi's wildest dreams. He remained at heart a family man, his friends told reporters, who naturally wondered about the secrets of his success.

The secret of success in our country remains, as ever, the ability to offer services and products that others want—patrons of a restaurant, the military, or grocery-shoppers, in Boiardi's case.


March 31, 2023

How Long Do Republicans Wait?

Americans who vote Republican have to remember that, for people who work for the Republican Party, it's just a job. They may like their jobs. Mostly they prefer to keep their jobs. They may share the Republican sentiment for free-market principles and military readiness; but when someone like me comes along and suggests that Republicans petition for a nation of their own, they worry about things like job-redundancy and relocations more than they do about Democrat big-government and peacenik sell-out.

March 23, 2023

Release Grand Ole Prometheus!

Left-wing trash-talking of the GOP represents a concerted campaign that should concern its leaders. The scathing rhetoric suggests that the trash-talking will not end until the Left can make the GOP the permanent minority-party, and silence or discredit its associated media-organs. Older Americans familiar with the Nazi-smearing of the Jews should note the similarities in the left-wing method. Neither the Republicans nor freedom-loving people of any stripe should ignore the potential threat that these smear-tactics represent.

March 21, 2023

Republicans: a New Start

The Republican Party has a few tasks it needs to undertake. It needs to examine the philosophy it claims to represent and to take stock of its future, and stop thinking in terms of personal rivalries. We have more on the line than just choosing candidates and securing a victory in future elections. The GOP needs to regain a corporate sense-of-self. How can we move forward when we have deep doubts about the game, the rules, and not least the players?

Lloyd Bowers

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