There’s No Pumpkin Pie War Needed – Mo Youse’s is the Best


Frisch’s and Busken can have their pumpkin pies and their pie wars.    Both are now different than their originals and commissary made, which means they’re not hand crafted.    But there is one pie that rises above them all- still made after over 70 years only one day a year in the little village suburb of Glendale.    If you don’t get a reservation before 5 PM at the Grande Finale, aptly named for its decadent desserts, they may run out of this delectable pumpkin pie.

For the last half dozen or more years my parents and I have had Thanksgiving dinner at Grande Finale.     We congregate with the my sister and brothers’ families on the weekend.     Virginia greets and seats us at a table in the Cabernet Room with a lovely view of the interior brick New Orleans style courtyard.   This year, we got to sit in the main dining room with a great view of the entire restaurant.

We’re the weird table that gets the salmon and asparagus, not the turkey, steak or chateaubriand, like almost everyone else.     I usually accompany the salmon with one of their amazing mushroom crepes.   But the main event for us is really the pumpkin pie at the end.

The pie is served in a casserole dish with the crust is baked in.   It’s a deep brown color, not some unnatural traffic cone orange as most others.   Like the large size of its other desserts, Grande Finale’s pumpkin pie is about the size of maybe a third of a normal sized pumpkin pie.     We usually order two for the three of us and end up packing some up for take home.

This pie is spiced traditional – it’s clove and mace forward, with cinnamon being the third fiddle.    If there’s ginger, its not detectable, but might hold up the background for the deep old fashioned pumpkin pie flavor.   The mild hint of cinnamon is in contrast to today’s cinnamon forward pumpkin pies you’ll find at the grocery.   It’s not too sweet, so you can also really taste the pumpkin.    Consistency is good – more dense than a custard, but still springy and delicious.

The recipe comes from Mo Youse, the mother of the original owner, Larry Youse, who opened the restaurant in 1975 with his wife, graphic artist Cindy.     Even though the Youse’s retired in 2006 from the restaurant, the team that took over still makes this legacy recipe pie in homage of the mother of the man who built the restaurant icon still going strong after nearly 50 years.


Larry and Cindy Youse shortly after opening the Grande Finale.

Gary and Cindy grew up in Indianapolis and were classmates since Kindergarten.  They fell in love in gradeschool, dated while attending Arlington high school, married after college, and had their son Zachary 18 years later.    Wedged in between there was the founding and building of their restaurant, which they passed on in 2006 to retire to Vail Colorado.     The couple restored the dilapidated Kelly General Store, built in 1850, with a nod to the historic.     The main bar was a find from Germantown, Ohio, and the back bar is from an old Hyde Park Barber Shop.   They also decorated it with fine oil paintings, the media in which Cindy still paints today in her Vail garden.   At the restaurant, they became famous for their over-the-top desserts, their crepes, and their high class funkiness where a crepe could be devoured while listening to Ricky Lee Jones.

So once a  year on Thanksgiving, we look forward to the best pie in town, Mo’s Pumpkin Pie, from an unassuming housewife from Indianapolis.


The New Halal Goetta in Cincinnati


If you’re in Price Hill and looking for a non-chain home cooked breakfast Amir’s Fish and Chicken is a good place to try.      For many years the location at 3900 Glenway Avenue was Sam’s Chili.     But new owner “Mike” Mahmoud Rasras carries on the tradition, serving Cincinnati style chili and fried fish and chicken.    But don’t ask for bacon with your eggs, because Rasras cooks halal , which means no pork.    You can get turkey bacon with your eggs any style.   And, even though pork would make you think that they wouldn’t serve the other Cincinnati breakfast meat  – Goetta – you’d be wrong.

Amir’s serves Cincinnati’s only halal all-beef goetta.   And I’m told by a patron of today’s St. Anthony’s Lebanese fest that it’s very good!   This person was surprised how good it was without the pork.     And she was surprised a Middle Eastern person would try or even know how to make our Germanic grain sausage.    But it’s fairly similar to the Lebanese dish called Kibbeh, which was also served at today’s Lebanese fest.    It’s beef and spices mixed with cracked wheat instead of pinhead oats.  Rasras knows his West Side customers well, and knows that if he serves breakfast it must come with goetta, which he makes himself.      Just like the early Macedonian chili pioneers who listed to their customers’ requests for shredded cheddar cheese atop their chili mac to make the three-way, another Middle Eastern chef is making a Germanic dish for his customers.

The Rasras family had run Al Amir Mediterranean Restaurant downtown on 8th street, which opened in 2010 and then closed around 2017.    They  were known for having one of the best gyros in town, which they still serve at Amir’s in Price Hill.   After closing the downtown restaurant they moved up the hill to the Glenway Avenue location which relies on carry out business, but has a few booths inside for sit-down service.

It amazes me how I am still discovering new house made goetta in Greater Cincinnati.   I tally this one on my list of new goettas to try.


Malas Candy and the Spartan Cincinnati Connection


There’s a great new exhibit at the Main Public Library downtown called Cinema Cincinnati, curated by librarian Brian Powers. It documents the wonderful history of theatres in Cincinnati and is an amazing collection of historic photos. One of the photos in the exhibit of the Orpheum Theatre in Walnut Hills shows the Malas Brothers Candy Shop next to it, which operated there from about 1916 to 1948.


I was so excited to discover that shot in the exhibit. Last summer, I had found a chocolate box from this Malas Brothers Candy store at a Westwood market for my traveling Cincinnati Candy Museum, which I use in my presentations on Cincinnati Candy history. I had never seen a photo of the shop.

In Cincinnati, before the advent of the mega movie theatres, Candy Shops and Chili Parlors chose locations next to or within quick walking distance of a theatre. Candy shops were usually a combination of sandwich shop, soda fountain and confectionery, giving theatre goers an after show hangout, just like the chili parlors. Both were closely related, as their owners were Greek and Macedonian immigrants. In Cincinnati, and elsewhere, starting in the 1910s, candy shops used to be owned by immigrants from the area of Sparta Greece. Names like Mehas, Aglamesis, and Drivikas were in neon marquees at candy shops in Cincinnati. It wasn’t necessarily that immigrants from Sparta had knowledge of candy or ice cream making. It was that their countrymen who had immigrated the earliest found these low capital, easy-to-start industries to get their start in America.

The Malas brothers were John C, Peter, George, and James and they operated four candy shops from 1916 to 1948 in Cincinnati. Their flagship store was at 913 East McMillen in Walnut Hills near to the bustling Peebles Corner and next to the Orpheum Theatre. Other stores were at Enright Avenue in Price Hill, and in the Norwood Theatre district at 4907 Montgomery Road. They had immigrated to America in 1905 from Geraki, Sparta, Greece, and joined the community of Sparta immigrants who owned candy shops in Cincinnati.

Malas Brothers represents how interconnected all these Greek family-owned candy shops were in Cincinnati. John Malas was married to the daughter of Nicholas Farres, who immigrated to Cincinnati from Greece in 1904 and operated a confectionery at 1223 Vine in Corryville until he retired in 1933. Farres got his start with an ice cream cart and then moved to his brick and morter store, which he operated with sons John and Andrew. His son Andrew bought out the Pullman Sweet Shop at 2629 Vine Street in 1945, that had operated there since 1929. Nicholas Ferras’ wife was Mary Mehas, from the Mehas Brothers Greek confectionery family that owned a flagship store on Fountain Square near the Albee Theatre.


Another Malas brother, George was married to Margaret Harritos, daughter of Pete Harritos, who also ran a candy shop at 37 East 6th Street Downtown.

The Malas brothers probably learned the business from their respective fathers-in-law and went out on their own. Malas made chocolate creams (probably our beloved opera creams), chocolate covered hazelnuts (then called filberts), brazil, and pecans, and candied fruits. They were all active in the Cincinnati Greek Community – helping raise funds for the Greek War Effort, and supporting their church, the St. Nicolas-Holy Trinity Orthodox church that throws the amazing Panegyri Festival every June. They were even part of the Candy Day (the precursor to October Sweetest Day) Committee that distributed free candy to orphanages, old folks homes, and the poor.

We can thank these Greek immigrant candy shops for proliferating our beloved Cincinnati Opera Cream, the Nectar Soda, and introducing us to the old tradition of having a chocolate mint after a meal of Cincinnati Chili.


Two Forgotten Prussian Beers My Newport Kentucky Family Might Have Brewed


A Prussian Potsdammer Stangenbier brewed by Weyermann in Germany.


I remember a great beer story from a visit to my grandma one Saturday while I was in college. We were listening to the Reds game on the radio with Marty Brennaman. I told her we had just learned how to brew beer in our chemistry lab and that my friend Matteo and I decided to brew a batch of our own ale in his apartment. That was to become Buddha Belly Amber Lager, the first of many homebrews I have crafted over the years.

Grandma smiled and said when she was a little girl – during Prohibition in the mid 1920s– she helped her father cap his homebrew beer in the basement of their Newport shotgun house on Thornton Street. Her father and brother Paul were multi instrument musicians – guitar, banjo, fiddle and harmonica. They both played in bands at the saloons and speakeasys of Newport’s Spaghetti Knob Hill neighborhood and in Corpus Christi Church musicals. Bootleg homebrew was a part of their celebrations and gatherings. Grandma always referred to her siblings, family and friends as ‘goodtimers.” I was thrilled to hear this story and asked her if she remembered what kind of beer her dad made or how he brewed it. She laughed and said it was so long ago and she was so young she wouldn’t have known, but she was happy I was carrying on the family tradition of home brewing.

Grandma’s Polish family of brewers – her Grandfather and father, her Father and brother.

Great Grandpa’s family were immigrants from the area that is now Gdansk, Poland, on the Baltic Sea, but at the time was German occupied East Prussia. They were devout Catholics, spoke German, but had a Polish last name, Muchorowski. I wondered if Great Grandpa John was using a recipe his father Augustus, had brought over from Prussia. Man I would have loved to have had that recipe. Was it a recipe native to their little village Kalwe, south of Gdansk? Was it a popular Prussian beer that was still being brewed in some small brewery in the countryside? Unfortunately for me, the answer was kind of lost to history.

Beer was essential in the life of my grandma. Even later in age, when her meds prevented her from drinking alcohol, her physician caved and allowed her to drink near beer while listening to the Reds games on the radio. Grandpa, who was raised in a teetotalling Anglican family, always said it was Grandma who taught him how to drink beer – the Wiedemann that was brewed in their Newport neighborhood. By the time I was around, I thought the Wiedemann or Wiedy-pop, as they called it, was a foul-tasting American lager. And by that time, it wasn’t the original Newport-brewed German lager, it was a Big Beer commercially brewed lager made out of town. Grandma and Grandpa even smuggled beer to the nuns out at St. Ann’s Convent in Melbourne Kentucky – the one where Rain Main was filmed – with whom they were friends. Grandma had an aunt, Sr.  Mary of the Immaculate Conception (born Elizabeth Ann Brosey), who was a Sister of Divine Providence there.  Grandma said the nuns had already made so many sacrifices in their lives, they deserved some solace – beer!    To their knowledge, Mother Superior never found out about their Newport-Melbourne beer runs, but they certainly gained a lot of prayers for our family from the Sisters of Divine Providence.


The Sisters of Providence who benefitted from my Grandparents’ weekend beer runs.

Well I would frequently wonder what kind of beer Great Grandpa John made in his Newport basement. It must have been pretty special if he didn’t just buy Wiedemann after 1933 when Prohibition ceased.   And, their home on Thornton street was in the shadow of the Dorsel Flour and Pinhead Oats Company at Monmouth and 13th.   So he was privy to a variety of brewing grains, especially since his sister-in-law, Great Aunt Loretta Brosey , was married to Jack Dorsel the grandson of the founder and owning family of the business.

That question was somewhat answered in the November issue of Brew Magazine which had a fantastic article called 15 German Beer Styles Rediscovered. I was pretty excited to see the cover headline and bought the edition. Sure enough, two of the 15 beers mentioned were from the area of my Grandma’s family! One was even called Danziger Jopenbeer. Danzig is Prussian-German name for the now Polish city of Gdansk. It was a highly hopped beer, boiled for 10 or more hours, and its viscous wort was flavored with rosehip and fermented like a sour in open casks in basements with mold and other microbes, that as it fermented picked up supposedly port-like flavors. It had unpredictable alcohol levels from 2.7 to 7.5%. There was even a recipe in the article with commercially available ingredients

The other Prussian brew was called Potsdammer Stagenbier. Potsdam is a suburb of Berlin, just to the west of Gdansk, but was still part of East Prussia. Stange is a tall cylindrical beer glass that Kolsh beers are typically served in. The Potsdammer Stagenbier was originally an unfiltered milky ale made from a mash of barley and a little wheat. Reportedly, frugal Prussian brewers would pour the thick yeast slurries and beer residues from returned barrels into their fermentation tanks filled with fresh wort. This would guarantee a quick and vigorous start of the fermentation. By the turn of the 20th century, after my ancestors had immigrated, it evolved into an effervescent amber colored lager. The Potsdamer stangebier remained popular in old Prussia until the First World War and then it nearly disappeared entirely.

So now thanks to this article, I have two brews from the region of my Grandma’s family that were perhaps that secret recipe Grandma had helped her father illegally cap during Prohibition. I’m so proud !


The Ham Loaf: An Old Butcher’s Trick, Now a Northwest Ohio and PA Comfort Food


A friend’s recent visit to her customer, a butcher in Springfield, Ohio introduced me to a new comfort food called the Ham Loaf.  It’s like a meatloaf, but made with ground smoked ham and pork, some sort of cracker meal like saltines or Ritz crackers, egg, onion, usually pineapple bits, and sometimes maraschino cherries and spices.   It is usually served with a sweet, barbecue like glaze made of apple cider vinegar, brown sugar or Coca-Cola, and mustard.   Sometimes the acid component of the vinegar is replaced by pineapple juice.

The ham loaf has been made by butchers in middle and northeast Ohio since about the 1950s, maybe earlier.   But it’s the Amish and Mennonites of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, who have the rightful claim to its origin.   It’s been a staple of their community since the late 1800s.     The ham loaf appears on the menus of any Amish family style restaurant and is present in any Amish or Pennsylvania Dutch cookbook.

It then travelled to Ohio’s Amish communities of Holmes County around Millersburg, where it can also be found on the menus of the restaurants there.

While it became a beloved comfort food of Ohioans and Pennsylvanischers, it also gave butchers a way to use up the ends of their deli hams and other luncheon meats.   Sometimes a version called ‘deli sausage’ appeared,  which used more than just the ham ends.   The butchers would save up the unused ends of their deli hams and grind it up with fresh pork to make the ham loaves.   Most butchers would sell them ground and mixed together, but uncooked in loaf pans like goetta, and would sell to customers to cook at home to return the pan when done.   So, like the scrapple of Pennsylvania, ham loaf gave butchers a way to extend either older or off cuts of meat.    Today, like with goetta, good cuts or fresh ham and ground pork are used.

It’s said the sweet glaze was to hide the off flavor of the older meats used back in the early days.   The pineapple or maraschino cherries also performed this function.  Some butchers even used red or cherry jello to sweeten their ham loaf.  It’s similar to the function that the addition of raisins or currents to Bremen Knipp and Dutch Balkenbrij (ancestors of goetta) performed to cover up minerally flavors of blood and organ meats used.

The ham loaf is prevalent in Altoona, Pennsylvania, between Lancaster and Pittsburgh, where it can be found at grocery stores, butchers, mini marts and gas stations.   It can also be found in Venango County, Pennsylvania, in the northwest corner of Pennsylvania, near the Ohio border.  Just west of Lancaster County, it can be found in groceries in Pittsburgh.   The Lancaster County Ham Loaf may also have given birth to the two New Jersey ham loaf-like products – Trenton Pork Roll and Taylor Ham.

In Ohio, the ham loaf can be found to the north of Holmes County Amish Country  in Akron and Barberton areas, and southeast in Springfield, Ohio.  It has an interesting local recipe in Clinton County Ohio, near Wilmington, just northeast of Cincinnati.   Here, Clinton County Ham Loaf calls for the use of graham cracker crumbs as the binder.   I like this adder and might try the cinnamon graham.  Wilmington, Ohio, was an area where the local historical breed of Poland China Hog was bred prevalently, so the original Clinton County Ham Loaf was a Poland China Hog Loaf.


Outside of Pennsylvania and its Ohio homes, the Pork Loaf’s reputation is challenging.   Many people see it as a version of SPAM and right it off as trash food.

In Franklin, Pennsylvania, about 50 miles from the Ohio border, is a commercial ham loaf producer, Gahr’s Ham Loaf Co., that is one of the only two makers who are USDA licensed and inspected to sell across state lines.  Owner Mike Gahr is on a mission to bring ham loaf to the masses – a mission to which I can relate.   Their original recipe comes from a 1930s Domino Sugar cookbook, probably because of the use of brown sugar in the sweet glaze.   Another mainstream ham loaf recipe appeared in the 1953 Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.  But, by the 1989 edition of that cookbook, it was reduced to a footnote under meatloaf.   So, unless Gahr’s amps up their marketing outside of Pennsylvania or starts a Ham Loaf Festival, it looks like the commercial ham loaf is on the endangered list.

Locally, Avril-Bleh on Court Street downtown makes a ham loaf with ham, pork, egg, bread crumbs and milk.   It’s topped with a sweet glaze of pineapple juice, brown sugar and muster.

While the ham loaf is not native to Cincinnati – we had many more Germanic porcine products like cottage ham, brats, goetta, schwartenmagen and ham salad (called sandwich spread outside of the 275 loop) – it did have a similar Germanic origin and is beloved by many Ohioans northeast of the 275 loop.


How World War II Changed American Food


Nowadays, wars are mostly technology wars and here at home we don’t feel the affect like our ancestors did during World War II.    Back then Americans were put on food rations – everything from butter, sugar, meat, milk.   Everyone did their part to contribute.    Many planted Victory Gardens to make up for rationed items.   And here in Cincinnati, like everywhere else, meals were stretched.   Goetta, our oats-stretched grain sausage played a role in many families.

But we don’t realize how the shortage changed the way Americans ate when the war was over.   There are several products that emerged as a result of our shortages that continued after the war.

One of the most interesting story is the Hostess Twinkie, released in the 1930s.   It was originally a banana cream filling and the treat was much more like a banana cream cake.    Banana shortages during the war forced Hostess to change the filling to the bright white vanilla cream filling, which is what we know the Twinkie as today.

Shortage of cream necessitated something called Half and Half, a product that was introduced through our local White Castles.   At the time of the war Americans liked a lot of cream with their coffee.   The Cincinnati White Castle cream plant devised a mixture of two quarts of cream with one quart of whole milk, stretching the cream a third.    Other makers added more milk stretching it even farther.    This would become the standard creamer for millions of coffee drinking Americans.

Coffee itself was in short supply as Americans bought it off the shelves in hoards ahead of rationing.  So, Americans turned to a variety of Victory Coffees, without coffee, like NesCafe, which was also popular with the troops, so was also difficult to obtain. Another product Postum, a cereal product flavored with molasses was served by many restaurants instead of coffee.   There was also a variety of soy derivative coffee like drinks served at cafes and sandwich shops – Soykee, Soyfee, and Kofy Sub.     This and  meat shortages introduced Americans to soy protein, which became more prevalent in American cuisine after World War II, fostering our own local soy company, founded by a Japanese American who had been interred in a Japanese immigrant camp during the war.

For the few hamburger chains like White Castle that were in existence prior to the war, meat shortages posed serious issues.   White Castle invented the mini egg sandwich, the grandfather to McDonald’s Egg McMuffin.   It was fried on the griddle in a small metal ring and served on the small bun.      They also served spaghetti (something Chili Parlor Cincinnatians were familiar with since the 1920s) as a meat substitute, in a tomatoey marinara sauce.

The French fry became popular as a filler side item at sandwich shops and burger joints because potatoes were not rationed and were prevalent in America.   Customers became familiar with eating French fries along with their burgers or egg sandwiches and demand increased after World War II.   McDonald’s did not invent the French fry!

Peanut Butter was a good source of protein that was never rationed during the War.   Peanut butter had been around since the 1920s, but was not the homogenized creamy kind we know today.   The pulp easily separated from the oil and had to be mixed.   Soldiers nicknamed it monkey butter and it was popular part of their rations.   And, to sweeten in up and avoid it sticking to the roof of their mouths, service men added jam, also a part of their rations to make the P B & J sandwich.    Soldiers brought this back with them after the war, kids loved it and the P B & J sandwich took off as an American iconic lunch sandwich.

There’s some evidence that our local party food Hanky Panky, has its origins in the trenches as well.  S.O.S  was a military term used particularly heavily during World War II to refer to a meal made of creamed chipped beef on toast, flavored with Worchestershire and dried parsley.  It seems Hanky Panks may have been an adaptation of this military convenience meal. The amp up to the American civilian table post war was its replacement of chipped beef with fresh ground beef and spicy sausage and Velveeta cheese.

Sugar rations affected the candy and confectionery industry long after the war, forcing many commercial candy companies to produce outside of the U.S., where sugar was significantly cheaper.    It was one of the factors that led to the closing of many small regional candy companies.

Many other shortages created new food stretching items from ingenious housewives.    And we are lucky that our wars today don’t cause us the same sacrifices that our ancestors went through to fight the good fights.

The French Chew, the Sugar Daddy, and the Secret History of How Sugar Barons Stole Hawaii from the Hawaiians


Doscher’s should have a pineapple flavored French Chew, or even a Hawaiian Kona Coffee or Macadamia nut flavored one.    If not for Johann Christian Doscher, the son of Dosher Candy Company’s Founder, Claus Doscher, we many not all be contemplating a trip to our 50th state Hawaii for a tropical vacation.

Johann Christian Dorsel came to New York City from Germany in the 1840s to partner with two other Germanic immigrant men – Claus Spreckels (from Lamstedt, Hanover – the heart of Goetta Country) and Johann Christian Havermeyer Jr. (baking family from Buckeburg Germany – also in the heart of Goetta Country) to partner in a Sugar Refinery on Budd Street (later Vandam Street) in what is now Greenwich Village.    Johann Christian Doscher stayed in the business a few years and then moved back to Germany, leaving his partners to duke it out amongst themselves.     Doscher married Margaretha Steffin and had sons Melchior, Claus, Albert, and Johann.

The two partners Doscher left would split with each other.   Havermeyer would move the sugar business to Brooklyn in 1856, which would become the American powerhouse Domino Sugar Company.    Spreckels, on the other hand would move to San Francisco in the height of the goldrush to operate a brewery.     He then went back into sugar, buying sugar beet plantations in California, and becoming the Sugar King of the West.

It might have been the letters from Johann’s brothers  Albert and Johann and their success at the Cincinnati Mine in El Durado County, California, in the 1850s gold rush, that sparked Spreckels to move to California to try his entrepreneurial hand.   With their money the brothers moved to Cincinnati in 1856, where Albert married Gesina Pape (whose family is the namesake of the street where I live)  and with his brother, started the A & J Doscher Brothers Candy business on Main Street in Over-the-Rhine.     They hosted their nephew Claus Doscher, who learned the candy business, and then went off on his own, dropping the C in the name so as not to confuse, and started our city’s oldest continually operating candy company, now headquartered in Newtown, Ohio.


Spreckels and Hawaiian King Kalakaua

Spreckels’ consumate entrepreneurship saw opportunity in Hawaii after the 1876 reciprocity  agreement with the U.S.     His strategy was to cozy up to the alcoholic King Kalakauha of Hawaii.    King Kalakauha had traveled to D.C. and successfully lobbied President Ulysses S. Grant to allow Hawaiian sugar to enter the U.S. tax free.   This was a threat to Spreckels’ huge California sugar empire.   Spreckels purchased land in central Maui for sugar plantations and bought water rights for $40,000 in July of 1876 from the King, after schmoozing him with boozy card nights.

Spreckels’ snowballing influence on the king earned him nicknames like “The uncrowned King of Hawaii,” and “His Royal Saccharinity.”    The king drank so much author Robert Louis Stevenson saw him put away three bottles of champagne and two of brandy in one afternoon.    The king’s lavish spending and drunken gambling debts put the kingdom of Hawaii in continuing debt, half of the debt owed to Spreckels.   For his troubles of funding the debt, Spreckels received kickbacks from the King, including a huge commission on the minting of vanity coins with the King’s profile.

IN 1887 the King brokered a backroom license to two men to allow them to import opium to Hawaii.    This news broke out and his officials bullied him into signing the Bayonet Constitution, reducing the King to a figurehead, and the government now controlled by a U.S. lead senate.     Deflated, the King moved to San Francisco in 1889, hoping to recover from what was probably cirrhosis of the liver, and died in 1890 the Palace Hotel under the care of his drinking buddy, Sugar Baron Claus Spreckels.

Queen Lilioukalani was sworn in on January 29, 1891.    At that time the Ohio Senator William McKinley’s Tariff bill was about to be passed, nullifying the sugar reciprocity agreement, and subsidizing American sugar by 2 cents a pound, putting the Hawaiian Sugar Industry in serious jeopardy. To the Hawaiian sugar barons, annexation to the U.S. – thus making Hawaian Sugar American Sugar – seemed the best fix.

Annexation was put on hold until the Spanish American war broke out in February 15, 1898.      General Dewey’s Asiatic Squadron immediately invaded the Spanish fort at Manila in the Philippines, crushing the Spanish forces and gaining us a new territory.   This further ranked the importance of having Hawaii as a coaling station and potential naval base.   Now President McKinley (helped into office by the generous donations of Rookwood Pottery founder Maria Longworth Nichols) confided, ” We need Hawaii now more than we did California – It’s Manifest Destiny.”    The Senate passed and McKinley signed the annexation of Hawaii as a U.S. Territory on July 6, 1898.   It would become the 50th state in 1959.

A bronze statue of McKinley holding the Annexation Treaty was dedicated in 1911 and still standing.   But it’s a lie, there was no ‘treaty’ with the Hawaiians, just a bully takeover.    He should really be holding a Doscher’s Pineapple Flavored or Sugar Cane sweetened French Chew, as it was Johann Doscher’s leaving the sugar business, and his brothers urging Spreckels to San Francisco during the Gold Rush, that led to the events of America stealing Hawaii from the Hawaiians.


As a side note, Spreckels’s son Adolph was on the committee to dedicate the Dewey Monument in Union Square in San Francisco, and was how he met his several decades younger wife Alma de Breckeville.    Remember it was Dewey’s victory in the Phillipines that had amped up Hawaiian annexation.   Alma was a nude model for artists and had modeled for the female allegory at the top of the monument.     They married and she called him her “Sugar Daddy” because of his age and the source of his wealth.  The term sugar daddy took off in the 1920s because of Alma’s use for her husband.