Ancient Biblical Oils
Even if I do absolutely nothing else of measurable value before I go to bed tonight, I'll consider it a productive day if I do just this one thing – bust some myths and misconceptions about Yoo-hoo.
* Yoo-hoo is not chocolate milk (though it does contain a small amount of whey), hence the now-retired tagline, "If only milk tasted this good."
* Yogi Berra never owned the company. He was, however, a longtime spokesperson. One highly sought-after piece of Yoo-hoo memorabilia is a cigarette lighter that plays his rendition of the jingle "It's Me He For Yoo-hoo" when the lever is flipped.
* It's not pronounced "yah-hoo", "yay-hoo", "yoo-hooz" or any other such permutation. It's pronounced "you who".
* Neither Coke nor Pepsi owns the company.
Some things I can tell you that are indeed true (impress your friends, neighbors, and loved ones!) are...
* Over the years, there have been Yoo-hoo ice pops, doughnuts, soft-from-the-freezer ice cream and candy bars on the market for various periods of time.
* A limited edition of Yoo-hoo "Mix-Ups" included Chocolate-Mint, Chocolate-Banana, Chocolate-Coconut, Chocolate-Strawberry, Chocolate-Cinnamon and Chocolate-Raspberry. Of those, the Chocolate-Banana remained on the market for many years after. Sadly, Chocolate-Peanut and Chocolate-Orange never made it out of the lab, but original Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry, Double Fudge, Dyna-Mocha, Cookies & Cream and Island Coconut have all been part of the roster at one time or another.
* Island Coconut Yoo-hoo didn't actually go out of production. It was repackaged under the name Koko Blanco, and only was produced one day a year until ... well, if you see any on the shelves (which you won't unless you're in the Greater Miami area), grab it. They're not gonna be making any more of it. And don't worry about the expiration date because ...
* Yoo-hoo doesn't have an expiration date. It's pasteurized in the can or bottle, and, so long as the container remains sealed, it won't go bad. Ingredients may separate a tad – hence the chocolatey sludge at the bottom of any vintage of bottle, but any true-blue 'Hoo-ligan knows you've just got to shake it up.
* Yoo-hoo was invented by Tru-Fruit beverages owner Natale Oliveri in New Jersey in the 1920s. He was a believer in natural ingredients, and didn't want to introduce a chocolate beverage to his line-up of fruit juices unless he could figure out a way to eliminate the possibility of spoilage without using chemicals or preservatives. He watched his wife preserve and can her homemade tomato sauce in the kitchen, and through trial and error, developed a process to keep his drink shelf-stable in the bottle.
Why this sudden outpouring of 'Hoo trivia? Well, 'cause I recently celebrated my 'Hoo-versary. From September 8th, 2001 through 2006, I was immersed 24/7 in all things Yoo-hoo as the webmistress of Yoo-hoo's official company website. In that capacity, I had the wonderful, glorious fortune to travel around the country (as well as around the internet) talking with Yoo-hoo fans young, old, Northern, Southern, Eastern, Western, new , life-long, and everywhere in-between about the rich, chocolatey passion that united us. I came to understand how the innocent, offbeat appeal of a simple drink could bring a chocolate-splashed grin to the faces of devotes who'd taken their first sip of the stuff in the 1920s, and were now indoctrinating their great-grandchildren into the cult of life-long Yoo-hoo lovers.
There's a purity to Yoo-hoo -- a hearkening back to the childhood glee of guilt-free indulgence (and yes, there is a Yoo-hoo Lite with a fraction of the sugar and calories). It's sweet, easy-sipping, and thoroughly un-serious -- perfect with a PB&J or just cold from the fridge. I will, however, note that the most exquisite Yoo-hoo I've ever had was one drunk in the company of Dr. Yoo-hoo, himself, James Mastroberti -- keeper of the secret formula (it's in a safe in his office), and longtime grand poobah of all matters in the Flavor Lab. He'd spent a couple of hours leading me through the Yoo-hoo factory (Yes, Virginia , there is a Yoo-hoo factory, and it's in Carlstadt, New Jersey. There's another in Opelousas, Louisiana), from the brewing in of the top-secret formula (the components come in from different manufacturers and are then blended together and sifted into huge burlap sacks), to the filling of the cans.
At the point in the line where the cans of 'Hoo were cooling before being sealed up and pasteurized, Dr. Yoo-hoo grabbed one off the belt and handed it to me, still warm. He took one for himself, we toasted, and we drank. It was simply sublime -- a warm, almost caramel-sweet, smooth ribbon of chocolate flowing over my tongue, and just infusing my whole being with happiness. I looked over at Dr. Yoo-hoo. Though this was likely the ten thousandth or more time in his illustrious career that he'd tasted a Yoo-hoo, he was still smiling as if it were his first.
Share your Yoo-hoo stories in the comments thread below and heck - grab a cold Yoo-hoo while you're at it. By the way, bottle may say drinkyoo-hoo.com, but yoo-hoo.com is the link that'll get you there.
Read Everything You've Ever Wanted To Know About Coffee But Were Too Caffeinated to Ask or Ask The Bartender
1. Brilliant! All my Yoo-hoo myths dispelled in one drinking. My day is complete. Oh, and strawberry was my childhood fave. Do you--or does anyone else out there in internet-land have any Yoo-hoo recipes to share?
D-Lish at 2:05PM on Sep 26th 2007
2. I have never had Yoo-hoo in my life. How many calories and do they have a fatfree/sugar free version?
Diane Sardeson at 7:30PM on Sep 26th 2007
3. A regular Yoo-hoo has 130 calories in an 8 oz serving, with 20 grams of sugar and 1 gram of fat.
Yoo-hoo Lite has 70 calories per 9 oz bottle, 15 grams of sugar and 1 gram of fat.
Kat K. at 1:28AM on Sep 27th 2007
4. As a child I absolutely LOVED Yoo-hoo's. My grandfather always had some waiting for me when I got to his house. One of the things I use to say was, now keep in mind I was 3 or 4 and I use to studer,"I say I say were's my Yoo-hoo?" and that is am on going story that is now being told to my children and I have passed down the love of Yoo-hoo's to them. Now we enjoy a bottle of yoo-hoo together every now and again.
Melissa at 4:46PM on Sep 28th 2007
5. I am 53 years old. When I was a kid my mom would freeze the Yoohoo and put the frozen drink in my lunch box in the morning. I had a can opener in my lunch box( might be considered a weapon these days)or I had to get one of the lunch ladies to open it for me. At lunch time I had a nice cold drink or if I was lucky , it would still be partially frozen & I'd have a frosty. Smart woman, my mom was.
Marian at 5:21PM on Sep 28th 2007
6. Like the others, I thank you for the tribute to Yoo Hoo and for stirring fond memories.
Before Yoo Hoo, my brothers and I drank Chocolate Soldiers. The product went away and Yoo Hoo took its place. I remember having both drinks from those OLD coolers at rest stops and gas stations when we'd take vacations around Texas.
Gena at 5:38PM on Sep 28th 2007
7. Your article brought back some great childhood memories. I now realise why I never can find coconut Yoo-Hoo anywhere else besides Miami. LOL! Too bad they aren't going to make it anymore. An ice cold coconut Yoo-Hoo was the bomb!
C. Perry at 6:25PM on Sep 28th 2007
8. 39 and Still drink the stuff!!!!!!!!!
Steff at 8:48AM on Sep 29th 2007
9. I HAVEN;T BEEN ABLE TO FIND YOO-HOO LIGHT, I HAD IT SEVERAL TIMES THEN SUDDENLY IT WAS NO WHERE TO BE FOUND. IT IS GOOD FOR EVERYONE TEENS, ADULTS, AND I AM DIABETIC, SO THE CARBS ARE JUST RIGHT THANK YOU PEGGY CHAMBERLAIN 2665 EASTWOOD DRIVE YORK, PENNA
peggy chamberlain at 9:02AM on Sep 29th 2007
10. I love Yoo-Hoo and had a great time introducing my 18 month old grandson to it not long ago. I put a little in his sippy-cup and sat back and watched. It was priceless! His eyes got big and he grinned and said "Mmmmmm!!" That's the same way I still react when I open a bottle! Love my Yoo-Hoo...
Tammy at 2:15PM on Sep 29th 2007
11. Do you remember Chocolate Devil? around in the 70"s
steve at 2:21PM on Sep 29th 2007
12. I love Chocolate but the Strawberry is YUMMMMY!!
Jamie at 2:21PM on Sep 29th 2007
13. I have loved chocolate Yoo-hoo since I was 7 years old, and that was 50 years ago. I always try to have at least one very cold bottle in my frig...but my son and daughter always steal it. I have to buy more, always hiding one and putting the other in the frig for them to enjoy. I hope I am still drinking Yoo-hoo when I am 90.
Freda L. Bardun at 2:34PM on Sep 29th 2007
14. That is the worse drink on the face of this planet. I'd rather drink parasitic mule piss...!
J,R, at 2:38PM on Sep 29th 2007
15. I love Yoo-Hoo, especially the chocolate and the double fudge versions. They truly are American classics, like RC Cola and Moon-Pies. Anyone who hasn't tried a cold Yoo-Hoo is missing out! Think I'm gonna run out and grab me one now...