December 10, 2005

New and Improved -- It's Velvetized!

In 1964, the Carnation Company monkeyed around with the formula for their evaporated milk product and came up with a new version which they called "Velvetized." Carnation registered the "Velvetized" trademark in 1965.

Mary Blake, Director of Carnation's Home Service Department, writes about this big change in the recipe booklet Cooking ...with a Velvet Touch (circa 1965, 48 pages).

Throughout the cookbook, she lavishly extolls the benefits of the new and improved Velvetized Carnation Evaporated Milk:

  • It's Velvetized for creamier, smoother, more nutritious, extra delicious cooking results;
  • It's THE milk for cooking;
  • It makes sauces and soups smoother, custards extra creamy, puts double the fresh milk values in casseroles and whips to extra lightness;
  • It's finer, denser and creamier;
  • It has double the milk benefits of protein, calcium and Vitamin D;
  • It has new flavor lightness, new calorie lightness, a new light texture and extra richness.
What is Velvetized? Mary never actually says. Perhaps the only clue for the consumer was found on the front of the can label. The word "Homogenized" was replaced with "Carrageenan Added". The new label also indicated that the amount of Vitamin D was increased.

Carrageenan, a red marine algae, is a food additive that's used as a stabilizer, thickener, binder and texturizer to produce a uniform texture and improve "mouth-feel." It's frequently found in many dairy foods.

The definition for the use of carrageenan certainly fits with all the adjectives Mary used to described their new Velvetized product.

Today the list of food additives on processed foods is usually relegated to the rear of the packaging in tiny, fine print, but perhaps in 1965 it was seen as a benefit worth bragging about. Whether they merely changed the additive from another that did the same thing, or added it to make their product better, they needed something to make us feel good about it. Velvetized...sounds smooth and creamy doesn't it?

The recipe booklet introduced 86 new Carnation recipes for cakes and cookies, desserts, main dishes, pies, salads and a salad dressing, dessert sauces, meat and vegetable sauces, soups and vegetables.

Even though it's close to breakfast time as I write this, one photo of a clear glass dish containing a scoop of chocolate ice cream with a dollop of pink Mint-Mallow Sauce on top looks particularly appetizing.


2/3 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups (7-oz. jar) marshmallow whip
1/2 cup undiluted Carnation Evaporated Milk

Combine corn syrup, candy and butter in 1-1/2 quart saucepan. Heat mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly, until candy melts. Continue to heat until mixture comes to a full boil. Cook 5 minutes. Cool slightly. Add marshmallow whip. Mix well. Slowly stir in Carnation. Stir until mixture is light and smooth. Refrigerate until served over your favorite flavor of ice cream or use as a cake topping. Top with crushed peppermint candy. (This makes a great dessert served with coffee..."creamed" with Carnation, of course!)

Makes 2 cups.


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