Corn Muffin Conspiracy

Posted: July 27th, 2006 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | 41 Comments »

Simply put, why the f*@#k aren’t corn muffins sold on the West Coast? If you don’t live here I’m not lying about this. It’s true. This is a serious problem, and I’m willing to do what it takes to blow the lid off of this conspiracy.

To give credit where it’s due, this issue was first brought to my attention by my friend Jill. She grew up in Connecticut and she could appreciate herself her a good corn muffin. But in her days living in the Bay Area she noted that they just don’t have them here. Now she has pulled up her roots and she and her family are living back in Providence, RI. Well it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why.

Now granted, I’m the kind of person who finds out you can’t get something somewhere and it’s suddenly all I want, need, and crave. I know that doesn’t reveal a very appealing part of my temperament but be that as it may. When I was living in France my junior year of college someone casually mentioned that they have all the same candy bars there, but they don’t have Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups. Well that’s all it took. I was desperate for them. A candy I’d previously never taken a particular shine to, though within seconds I was lamented how wrong it was that I’d so foolishly overlooked it’s many gastronomical virtues. To this day, Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups are my favorite candy.

So, you can imagine what happened when Jill mentioned the Corn Muffin Debacle. Actually, it was a few years ago and I’m happy to say I didn’t instantly go mad with the thought of the denial. I guess it was because Jill said she just made them herself whenever she craved them–and that pacified me, for a while at least.

But I just got back from nearly 3 weeks back East. While there I stumbled across some Thomas’ English Muffins that were made with corn meal. They were sublime. The same favorite English muffin goodness, with a slightly sweet and more crunchy corn element. We had them at my sister’s house on Cape Cod and everyone who tried one agreed they were delicious.

Then on the last day of the trip I was in the grocery store and saw another fine product by Thomas’: The Corn Toast-R-Cake. Yum! They were essentially like flattened muffin tops that’d fit nicely in your toaster so you could have your nice warm crunchy butter-topped muffin with your, say, Earl Grey Decaf tea for breakfast. My God, people! What could be better than that?!

Well I was flying cross-country solo with a baby and 12-odd tons of associated crap so I squelched the desire to buy some to take back. Besides, I thought, they’ve got to sell these in CA, right? Thomas’ is a national brand. There would be *no reason* for them to deny these delicacies to us Left Coasters just because we don’t like cold winters.

Well, I’m sure you can see where this is going. I got back and spent the ensuing days scouring the shelves of every Safeway and Albertson’s this side of the Mississippi. Sure they had all the standard English Muffins, but no Corn Toast-R-Cakes. Not even the corn English Muffins.

What gives? Frankly, this was starting to get a little creepy. I was feeling like a character in a John Grisham novel who realizes the nice boss at his fancy law firm is really not looking out for his best interests after all. So I did what any good consumer in the Internet Age would do, and sent an email to Thomas’ asking them nicely where near my zip code I can get their delicious corn products. No doubt they are somewhere here, right? I’m just probably shopping at the wrong stores.

Yesterday I got a letter from George Weston Bakeries Inc., some company that I guess is the parent company to Thomas’. In it they thanked me for my “recent communication” and said:
“We regret to inform you that this product [Thomas' Corn Toast-R-Cakes Muffins] as well as our Corn English Muffins is not distributed on the West Coast.”

Aside from the grammatical issues with that sentence, I was understandably troubled. They went on to say some rigmarole about their two corn muffin products being distributed primarily in the upstate NY and New England markets. They also dangled before me the possibility that their corn English Muffins, a new product, may be distributed outside of the northeast some day. Well I’m not holding my breath.

What I want to know is who is behind this? And to be honest with you the conspiracy extends far beyond the George Weston/Thomas’ clan. You can walk into any bakery–large or small–in California and still not find so much as a corn muffin crumb. And how can that be? Tell me there is no small bakery owner who, like Jill and I, hailed from the East Coast and understands the joy of a corn muffin.

And sure, sure, I can make them myself. But at this point, this whole thing is starting to smell very fishy. Someone is up to something and I plan to do everything within my power to get to the bottom of it.

You will hear from me again on this topic, I can assure you. And if anyone reading had any information about this, please please do share what you know. If it ever comes to it, I will not reveal you as my source.

Oy, I need to go take a nap.


41 Comments »

41 Comments on “Corn Muffin Conspiracy”

  1. 1 Cheryl said at 12:43 pm on July 27th, 2006:

    Amazon to the rescue!

    Thomas’ Toast-R-Cakes Corn
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0005ZHS4G/qid=1154029264/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/002-7048407-4418465?%5Fencoding=UTF8&n=3580501&s=gourmet-food&v=glance

  2. 2 Steve said at 9:36 am on August 2nd, 2006:

    Corn freaks should try Arizmendi’s corn scones with dried cherries for delicious flavor and gritty corn feel. Daily at 9th and Irving, Left Coast capitol. Yum.

  3. 3 Jennifer said at 6:46 pm on August 4th, 2006:

    My thoughts similarly Kristen!

    Although I’m still on the east coast (Savannah, GA) – I can’t find the Thomas’ Corn Toast-R-Cakes either. I was reading a recipe last night and they referenced them in passing, and I thought time stood still! I had to process the memory a bit and then instantly a smile appeared on my face… that’s what I want, and the craving was there. I stopped at a couple of places tonight on my way home and no one had them… It really may be a New England thing, because that’s where I remember them from. Maybe Thomas’ is too afraid to go against the home-made corn muffins/breads of the south – they shouldn’t be – but at least we can get regular corn muffins in the southeast.

  4. 4 Jill said at 8:53 pm on August 27th, 2006:

    Since my solution to this problem was to move 3,000 miles away, I can’t be terribly useful though I feel bad that I infected you with corn muffin fever! But I do have a sort-of solution: The Bagel House (I think that’s the name of it) on Geary in the Richmond in SF – it’s around 16th/17th Ave, I think – sells, or at least sold, corn muffin tops that were kind of ok – at least they scratched the itch. Stop in if you’re around there. I really shouldn’t tell you think because now you will have no reason at all to move back east someday.

    xxoo

    Jill

  5. 5 Lyn said at 8:28 am on September 1st, 2006:

    I grew up on ‘Corn Toasties’ in New York at grandmas house when we would go visit. They are made there by a company called ‘Freihofers’. They do not have a mail order system or anything but ‘Thomas’ evidentally does. I totally agree with the Corn toastie conspiracy – whats up with that? And I live in the midwest now – we dont have them here either. No wonder the east coast ae known as ‘snobs’.

  6. 6 chris kennedy said at 7:53 pm on September 18th, 2006:

    I have to tell you I have been hard pressed to find any Thomas’ corn cakes in any Queens or Long Island store for the last several months. What’s going on?

  7. 7 Ed said at 7:12 am on November 1st, 2006:

    What about Fluffernutter and Coffee Syrup? I grew up in RI and could get all of these. None of these products are available on the West Coast (California) or Mid West.

  8. 8 Shante said at 12:15 pm on December 2nd, 2006:

    I’m from Brooklyn, NY and for a short time they did sell the Thomas corn muffins. However, they just recently stopped selling them. I’ve been everywhere looking for them, I love them. I can not find them anywhere.

  9. 9 Russell said at 11:09 am on January 12th, 2007:

    I’m with you! I really miss my Toast-R-Cakes, especially CORN. I’ve been on the west coast for 30 years, but my sister can get them in Westchester County in NY. Freihofer’s Corn Toasties are second place IMHO, but nothing compares to Freihofer’s chocolate chip cookies! They used to be only available upstate NY. Entenmann’s version is close, but no cigar.

    Maybe we can get Oroweat to test market Toast-R-Cakes in California and Oregon. Write them letters so they know there could be a market.

    Amazon is an alternative, but shipping is outrageous – $12.00 total for a box of cakes???

  10. 10 Sara said at 8:36 pm on March 2nd, 2007:

    I work for Freihofers…… I can get you some Corn Toasties.

  11. 11 Amanda said at 8:56 am on April 18th, 2007:

    I grew up in Syracuse New York and ate Freihofer’s Corn Toasties almost every morning for breakfast. My parents moved us to Atlanta, GA when I was 16. You can not find these things anywhere down here. I don’t know what gives, but in the south people love cornbread so these things would be a huge hit. Someone needs to start selling these things down south.

  12. 12 John L said at 9:34 pm on September 15th, 2007:

    Amanda,

    If you live in the South you can get Howard Johnson’s Corn Toasties. At least I could in New Orleans, well, it was about 10 years ago.

    I live in the NYC area and I am about to give up on Corn Toast R Cakes. I call them Corn Toasties but that’s their proper name. I am about to give up on them cuz they now have high fructose corn syrup as their main ingredient. I have been eating them for 40 years and have watched them go down in quality.

    I may have to bake my own but I am glad to hear Freihofer’s makes them too. I hope I can find some.

    Cheers,

    John L

  13. 13 John L said at 9:41 pm on September 15th, 2007:

    I just checked on the Freihofer’s site and there is no mention of Corn Toasties.

  14. 14 barbara said at 9:57 pm on September 29th, 2007:

    I am so amazed by all these postings because living in Northern CA, way north, I have been missing for over 20 years the Thomas’s toaster corn muffins I grew up with in NY and my mom just told me today she’s been thinking about them lately – alot and asked me to do a search and I found you! There’s an aroma in our Old Town area that reminds me of the toasting corn disks but its the coffee roasting at one of the shops. Don’t know why that smell ticks off the memory but it gets me salivating and wishing I had one of those corn toasties slathered in butter. So glad I’m not alone, or my mom and I aren’t alone. I am going to try to get some flown out this way. Hopefully minus the high fructose corn syrup-which is really disappointing. Does anyone remember the Doogan company in NY? They actually delivered to your door weekly, like the milkman. Had great cookies.

  15. 15 andrew said at 8:18 am on November 25th, 2007:

    I know all about the Corn Toasty Conspiracy. I work for the organization in charge of these conspiracies for the Bush Administration. While we are a secret organization – I can talk openly about it since no one would believe me. Clearly, corn toasties are sold in the Liberal states and no where else. Have you ever tried to buy coffe milk syrup outside of the liberal states? Yeah, maybe you could get one or two – here or there. But once we find that a store is selling them – we crush it. We build a Wegman’s over its ashes or toss in a Walmart. This sends a message to the other stores in the area. Do not sell what we do not want to sell. Most people think that our president is mobbed up with the Gas companies – $100 a barrel oil. Yeah, that is true but Haliburton – Dick Cheney’s company – was one of the biggest food distributors in IRAQ. Corn Toasties and coffee milk syrup are just the tip of the iceberg. Why are they sold just in the liberal states? I do not know I am making this up. I miss corn toasties.

  16. 16 Larry said at 7:50 pm on November 28th, 2007:

    What happened to the corn muffins that you used to get in the deli’s and diners. they came a dozen to a box and you could see the oil stains through the cardboard. They were baked by a company in Brooklyn. I hear A.J.’s make corn muffins

  17. 17 Adrienne said at 3:00 pm on December 2nd, 2007:

    http://thomas.gwbakeries.com/product.cfm/upc/4812111701
    Corn Toast R Cake
    UPC: 4812111701
    type in your zip code under “Where can I find this product?”
    hit return
    find lots of groceries near you where you can get them.
    My Dad loves these and I get them at Price Chopper upstate NY. No Price Choppers in NJ so I searched online and found this. Luck all you corn cake nuts! ;-)

  18. 18 Patrick said at 7:32 am on December 13th, 2007:

    We have toast-r-cakes available for shipping at http://www.toastercakes.com

  19. 19 Dawn said at 6:18 pm on December 14th, 2007:

    I’m so happy that I found this website! I thought that maybe I’d imagined Thomas’corn toaster cakes. I grew up on Cape Cod and remember how delicious they were. That was in the late ’60′s early ’70′s,so I wondered if they were still being made. Now, to find out that they are and we can’t get them,is very disturbing. I will have to alert my mother to this conspiracy. She is an excellent detective and currently lives in Massachusetts, so she may be privy to some inside info.

  20. 20 Bev said at 12:26 pm on January 1st, 2008:

    We’ve moved to Spartanburg,S.C. and likewise cannot find Corn Toast-R-Cakes anywhere. Also sent email to George Weston
    Bakeries. Got the Northeast excuse but I’m from there and would still like to get them, They’re yummy. Anyone know how I can
    get them. Send a post to Weston.

  21. 21 Marc said at 10:10 am on January 6th, 2008:

    West Coasters . . . Your search is over !

    Just like what you had as a kid : Awrey’s Toaster Rounds . . . !

  22. 22 Tasha said at 9:22 am on January 17th, 2008:

    I have a recipe from Rachael Ray’s cookbook for Crap Corn Chowda and it calls for Thomas’ corn pasties. I wanted to make it tonight and wondered what this mysterious pastry was….so I went on the search and apparently they don’t have these in Texas either…Now I’ll never get to share in the joys of Thomas’ pastries… :(

  23. 23 Len Hodgeman said at 4:52 pm on February 1st, 2008:

    Well, this page is a wealth of information, but no source for Freihofer’s Corn Toasties. I have my dad send me a care package every month or so. Shipping cost is high, but it is an early childhood addiction. What can one do?

    For the other addicts out there, I’ve been thinking of starting a web-based specialty foods business for foods that others do not seem to be able to find. Love to talk to anyone who really must have their Friehofer’s corn toasties – AT ANY COST!

    Freddie Freihofer, we think your swell,
    Freddie, we love the stories you tell.

    We love your cookies, your bread, and your cakes.
    We love everything Freddie Freihofer bakes!

    Len

  24. 24 kristen said at 2:23 pm on October 5th, 2008:

    Rachel Ray actually has a recipe called Crap Corn Chowda?! Wow. I’m not even sure what to say about that…

  25. 25 Heather said at 11:26 am on May 13th, 2009:

    I was actually born in Maryland and my mom remarried. The man she married was from Ct so he got us hooked on Toast R Cakes. Everytime his parents would visit they bring a few packages and some salt sticks from the bakeries. I moved up there and could get them anytime I wanted. Well I moved back to Maryland and my friend said she’ll mail me packages. I’m looking them up online b.c I’m pregnant and craving them. Besides my boyfriend and grandparents have never tried them.

  26. 26 kristen said at 1:50 pm on May 13th, 2009:

    heather: i know what it is to be a pregnant woman on a mission for a specific food. that craving’s one mighty force. if you have to, you just get into your car and drive drive drive until you find a toast r cake oasis. then just tear open the pack and shove them into your pie-hole all willy nilly while moaning happily. (you might want to have some milk or something on hand. could get kinda dry.) godspeed, woman!

  27. 27 jessica said at 8:00 am on May 22nd, 2009:

    (everyone that happens upon this, who knows me even remotely, will know immediately that it’s me. hello everyone. i hope you are well.)

    i am from vermont. i moved to the dc area in 2001 after having led a blissfully ignorant childhood of eating corn toasties at my liesure. i moved to dc and assumed, if my fears of all the “bible belt” talk were true, that i was close enough to the south that things made of corn bread wouldn’t be difficult to happen upon. truth be told, i didn’t think of it at all, assuming it would be such a non-issue.

    my first craving for corn toasties was instantaneously squelched by the local safeway, giant, foodlion, shoppers, wegmans, harris teeter, whole foods… even frickin’ trader joes failed me. this is simply baffling and has become a source of contention in my life. my sisters lovingly send me picture messages of corn toasties, readily available at the grand union or a&p or hannafords.

    my ex-roommate and good friend kerri found it in her great big heart to make me some homemade corn toasties for my birthday (the date of the last comment, funnily enough). i must say, that made with love, they are quite close to the real thing. square instead of round, but i don’t care. slather them with butter, close your eyes and travel back. i’m about to ask her to hand over the recipe. or look it up myself. or just order some real ones on amazon.

    regardless, i thought i was alone. i am both saddened and glad to find others share in my plight. godspeed indeed.

  28. 28 Michael said at 11:40 am on November 6th, 2009:

    There are no corn toasties, nor thomas’s corn toast-r-cakes here in Texas. There should be. Perhaps this is a business opportunity for all of us. Let’s not miss it!

  29. 29 Debbie said at 9:45 am on November 9th, 2009:

    I am from upstate NY and have family who still lives there and brings me Freihofer’s Corn Toasties whenever they visit me in FL. I just had some this morning. I took them for granted when I lived there and now I miss them terribly. Entemanns bought out Freihofers years ago, I don’t know why they don’t distribute them south of NY.

  30. 30 Katy said at 12:06 pm on November 20th, 2009:

    I just got off the phone with a representative at Thomas’ in Pennsylvania. He told me that the Thomas’ Toast r Cakes are not sold south of Philadelphia, or even New Jersey, he wasn’t sure which? Regardless, I live in Atlanta. I grew up in Brooklyn, New York and ate those tasty breakfast treats all the time. Each time a relative comes down to visit, I ask them to bring me a package or two. Most of the times, they arrive crumbled up from being packed in some type of bag and they’re not even in tact enough to put into the toaster. My frustrations are great, and now even greater when the representative told me today that I was out of luck…that I even if I asked my local grocer to order the Toast R Cakes, that the grocer couldn’t even get them delivered. What is wrong with this picture? With today’s economy, and a demand for this product outside of the Northeast, why can’t Thomas’ get these to us in other regions? We get Thomas’ English Muffins; why not Toast R Cakes too?

  31. 31 anette said at 12:20 pm on November 27th, 2009:

    the howard johnson cornbread toastee is hard to find . Last year I ask the store to order the toastee for me. I had a howard johnson toastee bx left from the last ones .
    the next order the store had a hard time getting them.

    Biloxi, miss

  32. 32 Ritamarie said at 8:53 am on January 7th, 2010:

    I too crave those Thomas’ corn toastees! As a 25 year Arizona resident from the Boston area, I have only one solution. When friends and relatives call to say they are coming for a visit, and what should they bring, that is my standard reply, along with hot dog buns (there is no need to explain the difference, if you are from Boston, you know about those WonderBread wonders!) They can fill their suitcases with food westbound, and souvenirs eastbound!

  33. 33 Life-Long Corn Muffin/Toast-R-Cake Addict (Recovering) said at 3:12 pm on February 18th, 2010:

    I was born and reared in the mid-state counties of NY (Putnam/Westchester/Dutchess). I could ramble on for hours (in mind-numbing fashion) about the delicate intricacies of NY Corn Muffin Lore. The distinction between dessert and meal style Corn Muffins is far to complex and important to be expressed in mere natural language. Toast-R-Cakes frame the divided line between styles of Corn Muffins and are an entity in and of themselves.

    Now in Arizona, I made a visit to NY in 2005. Before returning to AZ, I froze and air-shipped some Toast-R-Cakes and some bakery style corn muffins (with huge crowns) from A&P and shipped them ahead of me. It was a month of corn-bliss back in AZ, but the addiction was re-awakened.

    If you live in NY, A&P has(had?) what I call the gold-standard in store-baked corn muffins. I don’t know if they still use the same mix; it was made by pillsbury; but my research leads me to believe that it has been discontinued.

    But I save the best part of the story for last. Netgrocer (owned by the Wakefern Foods/ShopRite) now ships Thomas Toast-R-Cakes anywhere within the continental US. The price isn’t too bad, even with shipping. They pack them quite carefully, and they arrive in good shape – although I don’t order them in the summer, because the hot FedEx trucks here in AZ ruin them.

    Alas, even though you can now have your Toast-R-Cakes anywhere, I’m still convinced that the Corn lifestyle will never leave its north-east nest. Much like Chinese Food, it is as essential nature of the
    region that just can’t be extracted to elsewhere.

  34. 34 Chris said at 11:08 am on March 10th, 2010:

    I grew up in upstate NY with Freighofers Corn Toasties, and have since moved. Since I can’t find anything close to them, I decided to make them myself. There are tons of recipes online that come pretty close.

    http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com/2008/07/homemade-corn-toasties.html

  35. 35 sTevo said at 2:32 am on June 4th, 2010:

    This is a sweet, cake-like corn bread that is delicious with honey butter.

    2 cups Bisquick baking mix
    1/2 cup cornmeal
    1/2 cup sugar
    1 Tbsp. baking powder

    In a large glass or ceramic bowl, stir all the ingredients together. Store in an airtight container.

    Attach this to the Jar

    California Corn Bread

    1 package California Corn Bread Mix
    2 eggs
    1 cup milk
    1/2 cup butter, melted

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the corn bread mix in a large mixing bowl and add the eggs, milk and butter. Blend until the mixture is smooth. Poor into a greased 8-inch baking pan and bake for 30 minutes

  36. 36 Matt Murray Sr said at 3:43 pm on February 24th, 2011:

    I am originally from Albany, NY next door to Troy, NY home of Friehofers bakery and they made a product called corn toasties that were out of this world. I now live in CA and have not been able to find anything like them. Am attempting to find a location I can create a pan to make them in. They are aproximately
    3.5 ” round x 1/2 ” thick corn muffins that fit perfectly in a toaster. Tell me how can you beat that?

  37. 37 Nilda Bocchino said at 8:00 pm on June 8th, 2012:

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  38. 38 Robert said at 6:45 pm on September 15th, 2012:

    I grew up in NJ and now live in Colorado and am jonesing for Thomas’ corn muffins and of course they do not exist here!

  39. 39 Cheryl Roberts said at 3:02 pm on February 10th, 2013:

    Just so all you jonesn people know. You can order Corn Toaster Muffins for Netgrocers.com. Price isn’t too bad and I ordered 4 packages as my brothers were missing them too.

  40. 40 Christine said at 6:22 pm on April 8th, 2013:

    I grew up mostly in Queens New York and I too moved out to Colorado and like the last commenter – Cheryl – I found them on Netgrocers.com and now order fairly regularly just to have them in the house when I am itching for them. I don’t know what they go for in New York anymore but they are $4.59 there without the cost of shipping, so they aren’t cheap but then nothing is worse then knowing you can’t have something as simple as a damn toaster corn muffin. I swear I am going to call a Thomas’ representative to find out why they aren’t sold here and get them to see the error in their ways. When I do find out or am successful in my mission I will let you all know. I did find out that a Walmart more than 50 miles away from me does carry them but it’s late in our day here now so I will have to find out tomorrow just how much more than 50 miles away is the store that sometimes carries them. By the way and just for the record since moving out here I now have places that carry Boar’s Head deli, Land-O-Lakes American Cheese, frozen blintzes and frozen Gabila’s Knishes, none of which did exist here before I started hounding several places to do so. Now I find more and more retailers carrying all of these items. I would like to believe that I has something to do with this trend. After all Trader Joe’s is in the process of building their store too. I have though failed on one thing that my daughter in law from California has begged for and even though I tried .. I mean I really tried .. In and Out just wasn’t having it. sorry ..

  41. 41 Mary J said at 7:04 pm on April 20th, 2013:

    Geez, was just talking about Corn Toast-R-Cakes with some friends today. I am originally from Long Island, NY but living in Northern California for 40 years. The craving for these cakes drives me crazy but they are not sold anywhere on the west coast…humbug! Need to find some long lost relatives to ship me some! Oh and then someone had to mention salt sticks! Stop, I can’t take anymore!!!!


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