Dear Sun Spots: Now that buildings have been torn down on Lisbon Street, at the corner of Cedar Street is a painted sign on the wall of a brick building. It’s an ad for Uneeda Biscuits. Can Sun Spots please give me any information about it? I’m sure lots of people are curious about it, and I hope it will be preserved. Thank you. – No Name, No Town.

Answer: According to a 2002 article by then business writer Doug Fletcher: Uneeda Biscuits was one of the more prominent building wall signs still to be found in Lewiston, facing passers-by from two directions on Lisbon Street.

It’s also a product that’s been around for more than 100 years, a hallmark of the National Biscuit Co., now Nabisco, a division of Phillip Morris-owned Kraft Foods.

Prof. Robert Foster, who was quoted in the article and who then taught a course on mass consumption and national identity at the University of Rochester in New York, noted that “the lowly soda crackers” were “heavily and successfully advertised by a chain of bakeries stretching from Maine to Louisiana and Colorado.” Those bakeries incorporated in 1898 to form the National Biscuit Co.

Those promotion efforts extended far beyond the brick walls of Lewiston.

In the early 1900s, Uneeda Biscuits were sold in sometimes colorful tins. They’re highly prized by collectors now. So are Uneeda cards, usually featuring the Uneeda Boy wearing his trademark slicker and so’easter hat. The cards are thought to have become part of Nabisco’s advertising scheme sometime around 1930, right around the time Shredded Wheat joined the National Biscuit family.

Besides biscuits, the Uneeda name was used to sell Uneeda Bakers’ Oreo Sandwich, probably a more popular snack than the soda crackers themselves, and the baker’s O-So-Gud Butter Pretzels.

Uneeda Bakers seemed to relish their ability to play with words and letters making up its products. Its slogans included “Everybody Knows Uneeda Biscuit” and “Do You Know Uneeda Biscuit?”

Want something a bit sweet but spicy? Then no doubt Uneeda Jinjer Wayfer, another product of the time.

Simply put, it was the beginning of this grand age of advertising. To some large degree, it was successful, too.

Like Oreos, Uneeda Biscuit soda crackers remain available today, part of the Nabisco family of products.

Sun Spots wonders if there are any readers who recall this company and would be willing to share some memories with this reader.

Dear Sun Spots: Last year you printed a recipe for tomato sauce using fresh tomatoes. Can you please repeat it?

Also, most importantly, if I remember correctly it didn’t call for any acid (lemon juice) and does it need to be canned, pressure cooker? – No Name, No Town.

Answer: Now that tomato season is almost upon us, perhaps you and your family will enjoy the following:

Spaghetti Sauce. Ingredients: Eight pounds fresh tomatoes, peeled and quartered, or eight 14-ounce cans tomatoes or stewed tomatoes; eight 6-ounce cans tomato paste; 2 cups water (if using canned tomatoes, add 4 cups water); 6 bay leaves; 2 teaspoons basil; ½ cup Parmesan cheese. Method: Place all ingredients in 8-quart pot. Bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered for 6½ hours over very low heat, stirring occasionally. Add more water if necessary. Remove bay leaves. Note: This recipe yields a large pot of sauce. It freezes very well. Canning directions: Pour sauce into hot jars. Adjust lids at once. Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Remove jars from canner and complete seals.

Sun Spots would like to share the following bruschetta recipe which will use up some of those nice juicy, ripe tomatoes. Some people use some extra virgin olive oil in their recipes, but Sun Spots believes the juice of the tomatoes suffice. Her 8-year-old daughter can’t get enough of it:

Ingredients: About four to five large tomatoes, chopped roughly; about six large leaves of fresh basil, chopped medium fine; two garlic cloves, squeezed and chopped finely; dash of fresh ground pepper; ½ pound fresh mozzarella, sliced thinly. Method: Add all ingredients together. Allow to marry flavors for about an hour or two. Serve piled on a piece of your favorite crusty bread or focaccia. Calamata olives also go very well with this.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be posted at www.sunjournal.com in the Advice section under Opinion on the left hand corner of your computer screen.


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