Behind the Entenmann’s Cellophane, a Slice of Long Island Life

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The tasty crumb of a element appeared in news accounts final week concerning the demise of Charles E. Entenmann, whose very surname conjures a white-and-blue field with a cellophane glimpse of some baked deal with that’s each good and dangerous for you.

It was mentioned that Mr. Entenmann, who died final month at age 92 in Florida — removed from the South Shore of Lengthy Island, the place he helped his household’s enterprise rise like a baking Bundt cake to turn into a nationwide model — didn’t eat Entenmann’s products.

“He simply wasn’t a dessert man,” considered one of his kids defined, little doubt inflicting Entenmann’s aficionados in every single place to choke on their second secret slice of a Cheese Danish Twist.

As somebody who grew up close to the outdated Entenmann’s manufacturing facility in Bay Shore, my first response to this revelation is: No marvel he lived to 92.

My second response, although, is to say: Overlook it, your royal Entenmann’s eminence. The Barrys of Deer Park, and people like them, ate greater than sufficient to cowl what you didn’t. You are actually excused from the Formica-topped kitchen desk of life, with our deep thanks.

Oh, and we promise to not linger too lengthy on the elements listed in your packing containers as we eat their processed contents. The elements, for instance, of the Entenmann’s customary, the All Butter Loaf Cake, embrace sodium propionate, sorbitan monostearate, polysorbate 60 and different parts that sound like prescription drugs for the odd circumstances apparently afflicting viewers of daytime tv.

For some self-conscious followers, shopping for an Entenmann’s pastry might name for a bit of wink-and-nod: The natural bakery was out of its regionally sourced herb scones, so we thought it’d be enjoyable to have an Entenmann’s, like those our grandmother used to eat out of the field in Massapequa …

However Lengthy Island working-class households like mine believed {that a} field of Entenmann’s conveyed class. It could be on proud show within the kitchen, outstanding on the fridge or displacing plastic flowers because the desk centerpiece.

Generally, a number of packing containers can be on exhibit, however not for causes of ostentation. They merely meant that somebody had made the six-mile journey to the low cost outlet adjoining to the Entenmann’s plant, an industrial behemoth churning by way of 1,000,000 eggs every week. The Entenmann cognoscenti would plan their visits like wartime generals, calculating dates of expiration to find out the most effective time to assault — that’s, to buy.

The Entenmann’s on the fridge was greater than a sign of solvent household funds (Sure, Dolores, we will afford the Banana Crunch Cake). It was a blue-and-white invitation to communion, its contents appropriate for weddings and wakes and Communion events and late-morning gossip periods with cups of percolated espresso and a Marlboro Gentle.

As I look again, Entenmann’s appears extra current in my reminiscence than in actuality. In my thoughts’s eye, there can be a Raspberry Danish Twist on Sunday mornings; a slice of Chocolate Chip Crumb Loaf, wrapped in paper towel, for college lunch; a hunk of Blackout Cake for dessert; and a rush to Good Samaritan Hospital earlier than mattress. (Not likely.)

I do know that as a boy, we celebrated my birthday throughout one troublesome 12 months for the household with a Fudge Iced Golden Cake adorned with a flickering votive candle. And that as a younger man, I typically returned late at night time from some bar to search out my father watching a horror film, and collectively we’d drink milk and eat Vanilla-Crammed Crumb Cake whereas watching the vampirish Christopher Lee drink a younger maiden’s blood.

Nothing stays the identical, after all, as Entenmann’s itself reminds us. The household bought the enterprise in 1978 to a pharmaceutical firm — Ask your physician about Polysorbate 60 — after which it was bought and bought and bought once more, no expiration date in sight. It’s owned in the mean time by Bimbo Bakeries USA.

In 2014, Entenmann’s ended its baking operations on the Bay Shore plant, and the South Shore sighed. Older Lengthy Islanders with finely developed palates will inform you that the style has declined — turn into extra “chemical” — for the reason that firm left. Maybe it is because Entenmann’s now not has entry to the clear mountain waters operating down from Jayne’s Hill, the very best level on Lengthy Island (elevation: about 400 feet).

Then there’s the discontinuance of assorted Entenmann’s merchandise through the years, quite a lot of of which had been staples within the Barry home. The Almond Danish Ring that might make a wake nearly bearable. The Vanilla-Crammed Crumb Cake that went so effectively with late-night horror films. The Crammed Chocolate Chip Crumb Cake, a private favourite of my brother, Brian.

Oh Banana Crunch Cake, we hardly knew ye.

Nonetheless there are Entenmann’s treats that I get pleasure from, sparsely; an Entenmann’s field sits on my fridge as I write. I’ve realized {that a} glass of milk washes away any chemical aftertaste, actual or imagined, and {that a} processed baked good can style just like the sweetest madeleine.

Audio produced by Parin Behrooz.

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