How popular is the baby name Dijonnaise in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, check out all the blog posts that mention the name Dijonnaise.
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We may not be able to stop the Cheesepocalypse, but while we’re waiting it out, we can talk about how Velveeta isn’t just a product name — it’s also a baby name! The name Velveeta first appeared on the SSA’s baby name list in the 1950s:
1959: 6 baby girls named Velveeta
1958: 5 baby girls named Velveeta
1957: 7 baby girls named Velveeta [debut]
I’ve actually found people named Velveeta born as early as the 1930s and as late as the 1980s, but it’s no surprise to me that the 1950s is when usage rose high enough for the name to pop up in the data. The product was being marketed heavily in the middle of the century, with television commercials and full-page ads in major magazines touting the product’s versatility and healthiness. (Today, Velveeta is actually a symbol of ’50s foods.)
So where does the word “Velveeta” come from?
The product was invented in the late 1910s by Swiss-born cheesemaker Emil Frey. The Kraft-Phenix company (later just Kraft) ended up acquiring the processed cheese spread and naming it “Velveeta” for its velvety consistency.
Velveeta was introduced nationally in the late 1920s, right around the start of the Great Depression. Here’s a Velveeta ad from 1929 telling people about the “delicious new cheese product.”
What do you think of the name Velveeta?
Do you know anyone with the name? How do they like it?
Here’s a baby name that might make you hungry: Calizza. It appeared on the SSA’s baby name list in 1986 but never again, making it a true one-hit wonder.
1986: 8 baby girls named Calizza [debut]
Calizza, like Dijonnaise, can be traced back to a new food product and (more importantly) the associated marketing campaign.
In this case, the food product was Pizza Hut’s Calizza, a six-inch “Italian turnover” on the lunch menu. It came in two varieties: Italian Sausage and Five Cheese. The name “Calizza” was a portmanteau of the words calzone and pizza.
It was introduced nationally in early 1986 with the help of three “wacky, tacky” commercials featuring an Italian mother and son. Here’s one of them:
If you’re curious to try a Calizza, you’re out of luck — Pizza Hut unceremoniously discontinued the Calizza a few years after introducing it. But you could always give this fan-created 3 Cheese Calizza recipe a shot.
Source: “Pizza Hut Introduces Calizza Via Chiat/Day.” Adweek 10 Mar. 1986.
In 1992, mayonnaise maker Hellmann’s introduced the world to a new condiment: Dijonnaise, a blend of mayo and Dijon mustard.
They marketed the product with TV commercials featuring a catchy “Dij, Dij, Dij, Dij-onn-aise” ditty set to the tune of “Duke of Earl.”
Expectant parents must have either loved the Dijonnaise or loved the commercial (perhaps both?) because here’s what happened next:
1995: 5 baby girls named Dijonnaise
1993: 23 baby girls named Dijonnaise [debut]
Yup, nearly two dozen babies were named Dijonnaise in 1993. And five more a couple of years later.
Conclusion? At least 28 baby girls born in the U.S. in the mid-1990s got names inspired by Hellmann’s Dijonnaise. Which, let’s face it, is pretty tasty stuff.
(It should be noted, though, that the sound of the word Dijonnaise was relatively trendy at the time. Three of the names that debuted on the charts the year before, for instance, were Dijonnae, Daijanae and Dajonae.)