Sure, you’ve got your Mother’s cookies (founded in Oakland!) and your Dad’s Old Fashioned root beer (named in honor of founder Ely Klapman’s father). But they’re not the only kinship-name brands on the supermarket shelf.
Mother-in-Law’s gochujang and gochugaru, Piedmont Grocery, Oakland, California
Mother in Law’s, a brand of kimchi, chile condiments, and other traditional Korean foods, is headquartered in Long Island City, New York, but its origins are in Garden Grove, California, where the family of founder Lauryn Chun owned a restaurant called Mother-in-Law’s house. According to the MILkimchi website, under the heading (what else?) “What’s in a Name?”:
Korea’s culinary tradition have [sic] an important relationship with the mother-in-law. When a bride married into her husband’s family, it was customary for the bride to learn the new family’s kimchi making recipes. As one of the most revered culinary skills in any Korean household, traditionally, it was customary for the bride to learn the kimchi recipe from the mother-in-law.
Aunty’s Delicious Golden Syrup Steamed Puds, Piedmont Grocery, Oakland, California
It hardly gets more British than this. You’ll need to rhyme “Aunty” with “monty” (not my usual Amurrrican way), and you’ll need to know that golden syrup is another term for “light treacle.” As for “puds,” it’s been an affectionate truncation of “pudding” since World War II—“pudding” being the generic British term for any sweet dessert that’s boiled, steamed, or baked. (“Pud” is also crude slang for “penis” in both the US and the UK, but don’t tell Aunty.)
Cherry Grandfather Walnut & Date Cake (i.e., confection), Costco, Richmond, California
These little sweets, which aren’t cakes and don’t contain cherries, are made in Taiwan and appear to be popular throughout Asia. The package doesn’t explain the name, and I haven’t been able to solve the riddle through online research.
Mama O’s Kimchili Sauce, Whole Foods, Oakland, California
First of all, how good is “kimchili”? It’s a perfect portmanteau of kimchi and chili. The Mama O’s brand name is a tribute to the mother of company founder Khedeem Oh. The company is based in Brooklyn, and I was pleased to learn that it sponsors something called Kimchipalooza, with free kimchi all day, a homemade-kimchi contest, and live entertainment.
Scrub Daddy scrubber three-pack, photographed in my living room
I’ve been a fan of Scrub Daddy household scrubbers ever since I discovered them on an episode of “Shark Tank.” The name made the Sharks giggle, but the product is serious business and the company ranks among the top five in “Shark Tank” funding history. The original polymer scrubber has been joined by some 20 additional products, including…
Sad Daddy scrubber two-pack, photographed in my living room
Some days you just don’t want to turn that frown upside down. For those days, there’s Sad Daddy (and Sad Mommy, which is scrubby on one side and spongy on the other).
“Cheer up sad Scrub Mommy & sad Scrub Daddy by letting them help you clean up!”
You can even buy a Sponge Caddy for your Scrub Daddy, and there are special editions as well, such as a pumpkin-shaped Scrub Daddy for Halloween.
I'd also nominate Uncle Bill's Sliver Gripper, a compact stainless steel tweezer that grabs slivers too small for regular tweezers, and a "must have" for any woodworker. There was a real Uncle Bill, too, and that's part of an interesting brand story: http://www.slivergripper.net/our-story
Posted by: Brian Phipps | March 02, 2023 at 08:32 AM