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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Popularity of the Baby Name Dijonnaise

Posts that Mention the Name Dijonnaise

The Baby Name Velveeta

the baby name velveeta

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:

  • 1960: unlisted
  • 1959: 6 baby girls named Velveeta
  • 1958: 5 baby girls named Velveeta
  • 1957: 7 baby girls named Velveeta [debut]
  • 1956: unlisted

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?

(Other food product baby names I’ve blogged about so far include Calizza, Dijonnaise and Oleomargarine. And, while we’re talking Velveeta, we can’t forget to mention Cheesette.)

Sources: A Cheesy Meltdown: Kraft Warns Of Velveeta Shortage, And it was all yellow
Image: the beast by stumptownpanda

Ethnic/Black Names and the Job Hunt

Yesterday, someone tried to leave the following comment on my Dijonnaise post:

And every one of them was black. Guaranteed.

I didn’t approve the comment, but I did find it interesting. And timely.

Several days ago, reader C in DC directed me to a transcript of The Kojo Nnamdi Show. This particular show had to do with the issues/struggles female prisoners face upon release. One caller suggested that black-sounding first names may impede reintegration:

I have known three black women, one of whom was incarcerated previously, and the other two had difficulties in their life that didn’t involve incarceration. And all three of them had birth names on their birth certificate, names like Shiquanda (sp?) or Jamezeta (sp?), names that basically screamed out, you know, I was born black, poor neighborhood

The caller noted that all three women “ended up legally changing their names” and “they all experienced considerable success after that change.”

Who knows if the caller was telling the truth, but he could be–it’s not outside of the realm of possibility–and that’s the important part.

Several studies and mounds of anecdotal evidence suggest that snap judgments about names may keep certain people (or, more significantly, certain groups of people) from being treated fairly when they apply for jobs.

And I’m not just talking about African-American names. I’m talking Spanish (“Mexican”) names, Muslim/Arabic names…just about any name that doesn’t sound mainstream or “white.”

I’m also not just talking about the United States. This type of discrimination has been observed in New Zealand, Australia, Germany, and other places with minority populations.

The Kojo Nnamdi caller brings up a good point: some names can indeed be a hindrance. Here’s a telling quote from résumé consultant Tammy Kabell:

I’ve had frank discussions with HR managers and hiring mangers in the corporate world, and they tell me when they see a name that’s ethnic or a black name, they perceive that person as having low education or coming from a lower socioeconomic class.

So what advice should we give former female prisoners with names like Shiquanda and Jamezeta who are having trouble getting a job?

Do we mention that people with more common (“whiter”) names sometimes have an easier time landing an interview? Do we suggest that they use their first initial instead of their first name? Do we recommend they take the drastic step of legally changing their first name? Or…is it racist to even make suggestions like these?

Would love to hear your thoughts.

(Also, thank you to C in DC for sending me the link to the transcript!)


Calizza: Baby Name Inspired by Pizza Hut

The baby name Calizza debuted in the US baby name data in 1986.

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.

  • 1987: unlisted
  • 1986: 8 baby girls named Calizza [debut]
  • 1985: unlisted

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.

28 Baby Girls Named After Hellmann’s Dijonnaise

The baby name Dijonnaise debuted in the US baby name data in 1993.

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:

  • 1996: unlisted
  • 1995: 5 baby girls named Dijonnaise
  • 1994: unlisted
  • 1993: 23 baby girls named Dijonnaise [debut]
  • 1992: unlisted

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.)

Source: About – Hellmann’s