An Unsolved Mystery: What Became Of Dottie?

When the weather turns sub-zero, my thoughts turn to carbohydrates.  All kinds of carbohydrates.  Some of which are meant to be eaten with delicious stews and soups.

Carbohydrates like corn bread.

Homemade.  Using Dottie Dorsel’s Corn Meal, a regional favorite.  A product packaged in a rectangular shape made of thick paper.  Traditional.  Easy to find on the shelf.

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So I went to ye olde K. Roger to a buy some of Dottie Dorsel’s Corn Meal and instead what I found was Dorsel’s Corn Meal.  Packaged in a slick corporate plastic bag with a zip top and large writing that excluded Dottie’s name.

This, I said to myself, is an outrage.

I mean, Betty is still with Crocker.  Duncan is still with Hines.  Aunt is still with Jemima.  [Okay, the last one’s not the same, but go with me here.  I’m on a rant.]


The heroine of our story.

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Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 9.12.54 AM

{ Image courtesy of dannwoellertthefoodetymologist }

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Naturally I started researching this mystery because it’s fricking cold outside and I ain’t going anywhere on foot or car [if I can help it] I had the time and I was curious to see how the current owners of Dottie Dorsel’s Corn Meal would explain themselves.

I discovered that:

  • Dottie Dorsel, aka Dorathea Dorsel, was a real person from northern Kentucky whose father owned The Dorsel Milling Company in the late 1800s.
  • I learned from a recipe in a 1999 cookbook that the company was at that time called the Dottie Dorsel Company.
  • I know that today Prairie Mills owns, what it refers to as, Dorsels Brands.
  • I cannot find any corporate PR releases or newspaper articles that talk about the change in packaging– or why Dottie’s delightfully alliterative name was left off the new package.
  • I can find some recipes online [here and here] from the early 2000s that mention using Dottie Dorsel Pinhead Oat Meal (another regional favorite), but Corn Meal recipes, specifically mentioning Dottie, do not seem to exist.

• • •

Clearly, there’s a conspiracy going on here.  A cover-up.  You can’t go around messing with people’s names on food packaging, can you?  I realize that Fig Newton dropped the Fig from its name, but Fig wasn’t a real live person who I related to on so many levels.

Fig was a fruit.  Duh.

All I can guess is that Dottie must have overheard something so sinister or stumbled upon a secret so dark that there was a need to rub her out.  Which lead to some mysterious someone axing her first name from the packaging of her own regionally famous corn meal.


That’s what I can’t figure out.

[Hello FTC!  I forgot to add this disclaimer when I wrote this post, so I’ll add it now… a few weeks later.  I’d love to tell you that this company was savvy enough to respond to my concerns, but no such luck.  Meaning that there was no compensation for what I said here.]

16 thoughts on “An Unsolved Mystery: What Became Of Dottie?

  1. I do know what happened to Fig. People really don’t like figs so they started putting strawberries and blueberries in newtons and then it didn’t seem right to call them Fig. As for Dottie, she’s probably buried under a mound of snow. Then again she could be with Jimmy Hoffa under a parking lot.


  2. I think you should write a nice email to the company and ask. Include your full mailing address so that they can send you a coupon for free cornmeal. I suspect that they’re modernizing the brand and trying to avoid the appearance of stereotyping.

    RE: Fig Newtons. I love them and always have. The other fruit newtons are awful. I think it’s a saving grace for me that there is no such thing as a Fig Pop Tart. I would be huge. (But doesn’t that sound absolutely wonderful?)


    • nance, this post is my way of asking the company. We’ll get to see if their marketing department pays any attention to what people online are saying about their brands. Interesting test, huh?

      I agree with you that Fig Newtons are the only Newton worth eating. Never thought about a Fig Pop Tart, but now that I have… I, too, am glad that there is no such thing. I’d eat one every day.


  3. I admit to having never heard of Dottie Dorsel before. But now I am heartbroken to learn that Fig Newtons are apparently no longer called Fig Newtons!?!? Not that I’m a fan of the snacks, but my sense of 80’s commercial nostalgia just took one to the crotch upon hearing this…


    • evilsquirrel13, Dottie Dorsel products are decidedly regional, but I was so surprised to see her name gone that I had to write about it. A sacrilege.

      The Fig Newton name change happened a few years ago. And I’d just like to mention that since then I cannot remember one commercial for Newtons while the Fig Newton commercials are forever embedded in my brain. Just saying…


  4. I love fig, but ever since a science teacher nonchalantly explained that there is a lot besides fig in a fig newton(like bug parts), I haven’t been able to eat any. My favorite dessert when younger used to be date bars; they came in a package with the oatmeal mix, then the dates that you mixed with hot water and spread on it, then another layer of oatmeal goodness. I never see them around. I dislike the changing of names or ingredients in products that I consider traditional! Period!!


    • Margaret, bug parts in Fig Newtons?!! Oy vey. You just had to tell me that, didn’t you? 😉

      I remember those date bars. I liked them too, but they’re now probably considered too old fashioned to be on the shelves. Yum, dates…


    • Andra, I know. I need to find out what became of her [the real person] while I’d like to know what became of her [the name on the package]. I’ll keep searching for the rest of her story.


  5. Now you’ve got me singing the Big Fig Newton song! While I agree that fig is the best flavor, I liked apple newtons, too. Never heard of Dottie though. Must be regional.

    Ah, the things we do when it’s too miserable to go outside.


    • Zazzy, I’m a Newton purist. A snob, as it were. Give me Fig or give me nothing.

      And yes, it has been miserable outside… which has prodded me into eating mucho carbs & tackling research on obscure topics like this one. God bless the intertubes. 😉


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