11 January 2008

The Proof Is in the Pudding

I've always had an affection for the grocery store pudding known as Kozy Shack. Perhaps it was the hokey name, with its intimations of home and hearth, but I also thought it tasted suspiciously good.

Vincent Gruppuso, the founder of Kozy Shack Enterprises, died on Dec. 29, and through his New York Times obituary I was able to find out the origins of the company. Turns out my instincts were right to a certain extent, because the story behind the pudding is a fairly homespun, heartwarming one.

First of all, there was an actual Kozy Shack. It was called Cozy Shack (no K), and it was a deli on Seneca Avenue on Brooklyn. Gruppuso was a bread delivery man and he used to stop there for a break. They made a great rice pudding that attracted the guy's attention. He worked out a deal where he started delivering the pudding to his customers. In 1967, he bought the recipe and started a factory. The company is based in Hicksville.

I will no longer feel guilty for liking Kozy Shack Pudding.

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