Do you remember Faygo Uptown’s ‘too pooped to participate’ Herkimer?

Faygo had a set of pretty great advertising behind “Uptown,” a lemon-lime pop that gave folks a lift. The campaign included TV commercials, store signs and, as I learned doing presentations about The Faygo Book, a limerick.

The center of attention for all the commercials was Herkimer Bottle Blower, a sadsack cartoon character who worked in the Faygo plant blowing bottles and whose one-quart lungs started blowing in half pints. That can cause quite a bottleneck!

Geri Daly recalled the limerick and, with a little encouragement, recited it for the crowd at a presentation before the Grosse Pointe Historical Society.

Incidentally, that was the first of what will by late summer be more than 100 Faygo Book programs. You can get the calendar here.

Herkimer was a bottle blower,
His job was to blow 90 quart bottles a day.
One day his breath started coming in short pints.
His boss kindly encouraged him,
“Blow or go”
“But sir I’m too pooped to participate.”
“Too pooped to participate? Well then live it up,up, up with Uptown.”

Chorus: Live it up, up, up with Uptown
Live it up, up, up with Uptown

Two men in suits stand next to a tall and wide stack of cases of Uptown pop.
This Uptown display towers over Faygo co-founder Perry Feigenson, in the hat, and his nephew, Phil. Faygo Book photo from the Feigenson Family archives.

Faygo cupcake recipe is so easy

Woman in striped jacket holds a tray of red and whit Faygo cupcakes.
Vicki Gowler, the bakin’ librarian of Birmingham, Michigan.

A tip of my Faygo bottle cap to Victoria Sower, adult services librarian at the Baldwin Public Library in Birmingham, Michigan.

For a Faygo Book presentation, she baked some dee-licious Faygo cupcakes.

It is appropriate because when the company began in Nov 4, 1907, relied on cake frosting recipes to formulate its inaugural flavors: fruit punch, grape and strawberry, which we know as redpop. Founder Perry Feigenson said he began in Detroit as a baker in 1905 but couldn’t take the early hours to get all the baking done and, with his brother Ben to help him, Perry switched to the pop business.

It’s easy to make Faygo cupcakes from a boxed cake mix. When the mixes first came out, they did not require eggs and oil. Recipes were changed to require them so people would feel more like they were actually baking You can take box of cake mix and substitute 12 ounces of Faygo for the eggs and oil. Could this be simpler? Plus, cake made with pop instead of oil and eggs has fewer calories.

This hack will also get you baking when you have Faygo, but no eggs.

Faygo cola is a good match with chocolate mixes and the citrusy flavors of 60/40 or Arctic Sun work well with lemon mixes.

Get crazy.

More ideas:

Cherry cola flavor with chocolate
Redpop and lemon
Orange with carrot cake
Black cherry and cherry-chip mix
Moon Mist (there are three kinds) and yellow cake mix

You can do the same thing with frostings that require water by substituting in Faygo.

Oh, and for higher, fluffier cupcakes, let the batter sit for 10 minutes before baking it.

Lora Helou, who baked some tasty Rock & Rye cupcakes with red sprinkles for a Faygo Book program at the library in Delta Township, offered some good advice, which I took as I experimented the following weekend. Cake mixes vary and she found that, with the 15.5-ounce boxes we get now, a cup of water, 8 ounces, seems to work better than 12.

I made a chocolate fudge batch with a Duncan Hines mix and Rock & Rye, followed by orange Faygo in a Duncan Hines white mix. No eggs, no oil, no water. They turned out. While I had to stretch the chocolate mix to make 20 cupcakes, the white mix went well beyond the suggested 24. So, experiment.

Oh, and for frosting, I just used the recipe on the confectioner’s sugar bag and mixed up the frosting with nothing more than the sugar, softened butter and Faygo in place of the milk.

Will this work without other pops? Of course. It just won’t be as good as Faygo.

What a nice thing for Faygo to do

Driver holds an open Faygo Book, displaying the double signatures. He is wearing a red hoodie under a black Rip-It jacket.
Mike Wilder delivers Rip It for National Beverage Co., parent company of Faygo.
When Mike Wilder showed up before a Faygo Book talk at the library in Gladwin, Michigan, I knew something was up.

For one thing, he already had a Faygo Book. For another, he was wearing a jacket that said Rip It, a brand belonging to Faygo’s parent company, National Beverage Co.

Wilder asked if I would sign his book.

I asked where he had gotten it.

He said the company had given it to him for Christmas. I suspected as much and told him to look inside.

Sure enough. His book was already signed. Faygo had ordered 300 as gifts for employees, and I had driven to Wayne State University Press to sign them. This was one.

So, I signed the page a second time and wrote, “To Mike, the only guy who knows why this book has two signatures.” And now you know why, too.

Thanks, Mike. Thanks, Faygo.