Heard this story a few years back, on the creation of Rice-a-Roni. Also Near East Pilaf was started by an Armenian family back east, and sold to General Foods. Armenians know good food and America catches on!!!!
Rice-a-Roni has an interesting history, though. The idea to package the side dish was born of Italian immigrants in by inspired the recipe of their Armenian landlady.
Charlie DeDomenico emigrated the United States from Italy in the 1890’s, making his way from New York City to San Francisco where he opened a small market which he eventually built up to three different stores. From there he sent for and married his young Italian bride, Maria. Together they set up residence in the apartment of an elderly Armenian woman. Maria learned to cook from her landlady who taught her a recipe that was a combination of pasta and rice that became a household favorite the young family eventually moved into their own home.
In 1958, the rice and pasta was mixed with a dry chicken soup mix and the San Francisco treat, Rice-A-Roni was born. The unique preparation of the dish, and its wonderful flavor and convenience, made the dish one of America’s favorite products. The Rice-A-Roni jingle, The San Francisco Treat® slogan, “Saute and Simmer” and scenic San Francisco became familiar to every household in America in the 60’s as the product was introduced through television advertising.
You can make your own “Rice-a-Roni” mixes in volume to store for future use and cost savings!