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Quaker Oats to Change Aunt Jemima Name, Finally Recognizing It’s ‘Based on a Racial Stereotype’

Plus, Nathan’s hot-dog-eating contest will continue despite COVID-19, and more news to start your day

A shelf of bottles of aunt jemima pancake syrup Shutterstock
Jaya Saxena is a Correspondent at, and the series editor of Best American Food Writing. She explores wide ranging topics like labor, identity, and food culture.

The brand will get a new name and image

It only took a national uprising (and a viral TikTok) to make the company behind Aunt Jemima realize that the 130-year-old character, which was inspired by a minstrel show, should not be the face of pancake products (or anything). Though the image has changed over time in an attempt to shed the minstrelsy connections, Quaker Oats announced that it will be removing the image and the name. “As we work to make progress toward racial equality through several initiatives, we also must take a hard look at our portfolio of brands and ensure they reflect our values and meet our consumers’ expectations,” said Kristin Kroepfl, vice president and chief marketing officer of Quaker Foods North America.

Aunt Jemima has faced decades of criticism. “[The] Aunt Jemima logo was an outgrowth of Old South plantation nostalgia and romance grounded in an idea about the ‘mammy,’ a devoted and submissive servant who eagerly nurtured the children of her white master and mistress while neglecting her own,” said Riche Richardson, a professor of the Africana Studies and Research Center at Cornell University, in 2015. That same year, a judge dismissed a $3 billion lawsuit against Quaker Oats from the descendants of Anna Short Harrington, whose likeness has been used on the brand since 1937. Quaker Oats has not yet announced what the replacement name and logo will be. Uncle Ben’s rice, you’re next.

And in other news...

  • The Nathan’s Famous hot dog eating contest on July 4 will continue this year, though without the crowd of fans, and with just five competitors on stage at a time. [CNN]
  • Wineries, cooking schools, and other travel destinations are figuring out how to re-open. [NYTimes]
  • Chef Sam Fore writes about her experience being profiled for Bon Appetit. [Medium]
  • New York City Bagel and Coffee House apologizes for not acting sooner when a maskless woman coughed on another patron in the store. [AstoriaPost]
  • AriZona iced tea is introducing a line of sparkling water. [Santa Fe]