Madison College and Madison Foods: Work with Soy
by William Shurtleff and Akiko Aoyagi
A Chapter from the Unpublished Manuscript, History of Soybeans and Soyfoods, 1100 B.C. to the 1980s
ęCopyright 2004 Soyinfo Center, Lafayette, California
If a single Seventh-day Adventist
organization had to be chosen as the pioneer in soyfoods production in
America, it would have to be Madison Foods, with T.A. Van Gundy's La
Sierra Industries (discussed in Part 4) running a close second. Madison
showed great creativity and vision in developing the first full line of
soyfoods, starting in the 1920s, and introducing them in a way that truly
appealed to American tastes. The key man behind the early products was Dr.
Perry A. Webber.
Founding the School; E.A. Sutherland. In 1904 one of America's most remarkable and innovative schools started in Madison, Tennessee, about 10 miles north of Nashville on the Cumberland River. Founded by seven pioneering friends, it was known from 1904 as The Nashville Agricultural and Normal Institute (NANI), but was renamed "Madison College" in 1937 (Neufeld 1976, p. 827-32).
Its revered president for over 50 years was Dr. Edward Alexander Sutherland. Born in 1865 and a devout Seventh-day Adventist, Dr. Sutherland was a graduate of Battle Creek College and a classmate of Dr. Harry Miller. He went on to become a professor at that college, and then the successful president of Walla Walla College in Washington state and, in 1897 (at age 32), of Battle Creek College. A leader of the country-life movement, he transferred Battle Creek College to a beautiful 300-acre fruit farm near Berrien Springs, Michigan and re-christened it Emmanuel Missionary College; today it is Andrews University (Sandborn 1953; Neufeld 1976).
In 1895 and 1896 Ellen G. White wrote a series of nine articles, stirring appeals urging Adventists to work in the war-torn southern states. In response to this call, in 1904, Sutherland and his lifelong close friend Percy T. Magan resigned their high positions at Emmanuel Missionary College and went south. In the years to come, Sutherland became known as a great educator, a man of strong perseverance with an unshakeable faith in God. His co-workers, students, and friends were deeply devoted to him, his message, and the school.
In the summer of 1904 Sutherland and Magan had discussed their plans with Mrs. White in Nashville, then spent six weeks looking for a suitable location for their school near Nashville. One day in June 1904, Mrs. White, W. Palmer, Sutherland, Magan, and others took a steamboat for a river trip near Nashville, a city of culture, which had become the center of Adventist activity in the South. The boat suddenly broke down at Neely's Bend in the Cumberland River and was towed over to the bank so that repairs could be made. Mrs. White and Mr. Palmer went ashore to look around. They found themselves on a 412-acre farm, overgrown with buck brush, full of stones and gullies, worn out and rundown. Mrs. White returned to the boat and said to Sutherland and Magan, "This looks like the place I have seen in vision. This is the place where God wants Sutherland and Magan to start their school." Upon inspecting the farm, the two men were dismayed, for everything they saw was displeasing. They didn't have the money to buy the huge farm; they had had a small, attractive, fertile farm in mind. They sat down together on a rock and wept, but ultimately decided to surrender to their destiny and Mrs. White's advice (Sandborn 1953; Hansen 1968; Neufeld 1976; Gish and Christman 1979).
The farm, known as the Nelson Place and at that time owned by a Mr. Ferguson, was purchased for $12,723, taking its founders' last cent. The school was founded in 1904 and the first term began with 11 students. Yet it grew, and under Ellen White's guidance its educational philosophy was formed. She called Madison "God's beautiful farm" and she had a special love for the work of its founders, Sutherland, Magan (1867-1947; he later became a renowned figure in medical education), M. Bessie DeGraw, and Mrs. Nellie H. Druillard. In 1908, in "An Appeal for the Madison School," Ellen White said: "The . . . education given at the Madison school is such as will be accounted a treasure of great value by those who take up missionary work in foreign fields. If many more in other schools were receiving a similar training, we as a people would be a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. The message would quickly be carried to every country, and souls now in darkness would be brought to light."
Principles and Activities of the School. The original idea for the school came from David Paulson MD who, in 1901, encouraged Sutherland to "establish a school whose doors would swing open to any young man or woman of worthy character who is willing to work for his expenses. I would never turn away anyone who had the love of education and the courage to work for it. You ought to have a large tract of land and provide facilities for student self-support" (Madison Survey, 9 May 1934). Madison sought to educate the whole person: the body, mind, and spirit. The basic operating principle was that of self-support, but above this Madison most effectively instilled in its students and teachers a spirit of self-sacrifice, service, and love of a simple frugal life close to God and nature. Any qualified student, no matter how poor, was able to receive an education at Madison as long as he or she was willing to work each day at the school to earn expenses. Under the Madison work-study plan, every student had to work for at least half (and preferably all) of his or her expenses. There was no set tuition in the early years and two-thirds of the students entered with only the required small deposit. The early years were trying: years of faith, hard work, and frugality. Faculty salaries were meager. Students and faculty worked together for 5 hours each day. Until the 1930s they ate only two meals a day. Over the years, they built all the school's buildings with their own hands. In 1939 Ripley's Believe It or Not called Madison "the only self-supporting college in America." That same year Dr. Philander P. Claxton, US Commissioner of Education, praised Madison saying: "I have seen many schools of all grades in many countries, but none more interesting than this. Nowhere else have I seen so much accomplished with so little money." Madison became a high school in 1927 and a junior college in 1928. The first senior college class was graduated in 1933 (Sandborn 1953).
Neither a college nor a high school, Madison in its early years was a special school as shown by its name, Nashville Agricultural Normal Institute, indicating training in agriculture, which Mrs. White believed should be basic to all other studies, and in "normal" courses, or teaching. Thus its purpose was to train self-supporting, domestic and foreign missionary teachers and workers. The primary entrance requirements were a mature mind and an intense interest in self-supporting missionary service. Unlike other schools, for example, Madison had no organized athletic program. There was no time for such things, and students got plenty of exercise through farming and useful work. Sutherland had inaugurated this concept when, as president of Battle Creek College, he had plowed up the athletic field to make a vegetable garden.
After it got underway, Madison lost no time putting into action its plan of sending teachers to set up Madison-type "rural units" or "hill schools" to help the impoverished people of the South's hill and mountain country who had no schools. By 1914 some 40 such schools, started from Madison, were in operation in the South with more than 1,000 students in attendance.
Both Ellen White and Sutherland believed strongly that schools should be located in the countryside, and that they should support themselves through farming and other activities that provided education and income for the students, and service to the surrounding community. Two such activities were the operation of a sanitarium (hospital) and a small plant to produce healthful natural foods. Madison was the first Adventist school to have its own sanitarium, which started in about 1906. To aid in the development of the sanitarium, Sutherland and Magan, despite their host of demanding responsibilities, both enrolled in medical school in 1910. The two friends rode their motorcycles to Nashville for classes and in 1914 received their MDs from the University of Tennessee Medical College (Vanderbilt??). Sutherland was then 50! By 1954 Madison had graduated over 500 nurses, and by 1963 its sanitarium had 310 beds attended by students and physicians.
The school also had its own printing business (The Rural School Press) and publishing house. In 1919 the weekly school newspaper, The Madison Survey, began publication. With a monthly circulation that eventually reached 21,000, it was sent out free of charge as the voice of the college to friends, alumni, and other Adventist groups. It was still being published in 1984, and was our single best source of early information on Madison Foods. Over the years 10 to 15 small recipe booklets and pamphlets related to soyfoods were printed at the school. In 1935 the press published the 332-page book Food For Life (described in Part 8, below), and in the spring of 1938 began publication of the Madison Health Messenger with Ed Bisalski as editor. This is the best source of later information on Madison soyfoods. By 1938 Madison had 27 student-run campus industries.
Madison Foods and Early Soyfoods. In 1907 Ellen White had said, "It would be a great advantage to the school at Madison if a food factory were put into operation in connection with the work of the school." In 1917 a large health food plant in nearby Amqui-Edgefield (now Edenwold), formerly run by the Southern Union Conference of the Adventist church and then by Jethro Kloss, went out of business. The building and equipment were purchased and rebuilt on the Madison campus. The company reopened in 1918 as Madison Foods. Mrs. Nellie Druillard (affectionately called "Mother D"), a remarkable red-haired Scotch lady and Sutherland's aunt (who lived to be 95), became manager and treasurer of Madison Foods in the early days. Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Wheeler were the first in charge of food production. By July 1919 the little plant, run by students and teachers, was producing healthful vegetarian foods for the dining hall, the sanitarium, and the commercial market: nut meat, crackers, and peanut butter. It also canned many of the fruits and vegetables grown on the school's farms. In February 1919 The Madison Survey wrote, "The school at Madison has its experience raising soybeans . . . We are doing our part through farm and food factory to feed the world." Clearly, their view of what they were doing was not provincial.
It is not clear how Madison first came to know about soybeans. It may have been through Dr. Harry Miller, who had tasted tofu in 1903 in Japan, or through Dr. Kellogg (Dr. Sutherland's good friend), who first mentioned soyfoods in 1917, or through Adventist missionaries returning from East Asia, or through the local county agricultural extension service or the USDA. The Madison Survey of 5 March 1919 reported that from 1917-1919 the school did experiments growing many varieties of soybeans. The "soy lima bean," or Hito, was found to be an exceptionally good edible-type soybean, which was served in the fresh green form and gave a high yield. The green beans were as large as a small lima; they were considered to be the mildest and best flavored of all soybeans tested. Other good varieties were the Haberlandt, Ito San, Manchu, Illini, and Mammoth. In May of 1919 William Morse of the USDA had sent the farm 90 pounds of the "soy lima beans" (which he introduced to the US; this was the largest amount sent to anyone outside government experiment stations) and 15 pounds of the Mammoth, which were reported to cook soft by boiling at atmospheric pressure for only 20 minutes, as compared to 3-6 hours for most other soybeans. In October 1919 Morse spent the day at Madison; soy lima beans were served for dinner. Over the years the school continued to grow a few acres for fresh green soybeans but after 1930 all the beans used in commercial soyfoods were purchased from outside sources.
By March 1922 Madison Foods was producing its first commercial soyfood, called Soy Bean Meat. This was apparently America's first soy-based meat analog. It is not clear what the ingredients were or how it was made. In July 1922 the second soyfood was introduced; plain canned soybeans. At this time the food factory also produced two other meat substitutes (Nut Meat and Savory Meat), plus 100% whole wheat bread, Malta (a grain sweetener), and Bran Crackers. The newspaper wrote, "Our health foods have been made for the benefit of suffering humanity. Many more should be engaged in making such foods."
Interest in soyfoods increased greatly started in 1929, in part through the efforts of Miss Frances Dittes and Perry Webber. By May 1929 fresh soymilk and tofu were being served occasionally in the dining hall and sanitarium, and soymilk was used in place of water in some yeasted breads. On May 15 the newspaper wrote, "We are just beginning to discover the real value to human beings of this legume imported from Asia. The soy-bean with nuts will supply everything we have been obtaining from milk and flesh foods. And the danger that lurks in the products of diseased animals is entirely eliminated by the use of soy-bean products." (It was noted that cow's milk was frequently a carrier for tuberculosis and typhoid fever.) There followed recipes for Soy-bean Milk, Soy-bean Cheese (tofu), Soy-bean Omelet, Soy-bean in Tomato Sauce, Cream of Soy-bean Soup, and Soy-bean Salad. The June ?? 1929 issue of The Madison Survey gave a more detailed recipe for making tofu with rennet or lactic acid as curding agents, followed by recipes for using tofu in a Savory Loaf, Soy Loaf, Jellied Soy Salad, and Tomato Soy Salad with Tofu-Mayonnaise Dressing. Also given were recipes using soy puree in Lentil-Soy Loaf and Vegetable Roast. In September 1929 Madison Foods published its first pamphlet of soyfood recipes, including Tomato Pineapple Cheese Salad, Jellied Soy Salad, Waldorf Cheese Salad, Almond and Soy Salad, Tomato and Soy Salad, and Pineapple and Soy Cheese Salad . . . each containing tofu.
All of these foods played a key role in Madison's lacto-ovo vegetarian diet. Sutherland, like his close friends Ellen White and Dr. J.H. Kellogg, believed strongly that a diet free of flesh foods is the best and healthiest in every way. In all of the colleges of which he had been president, he had established such a diet. The Madison students, however, had raised cows for milk (they had 34 cows in 1930) and chickens for eggs, although these played an ever smaller role in the diet as it was discovered how to make "meat, milk, and cheese" from the versatile soybean.
To share their tasty and health-giving meatless diet with others, in 1917 Madison opened a Vegetarian Cafeteria and Treatment Room in Nashville in rented quarters. (Actually the Nashville Sanitarium had run a vegetarian Sanitarium Dining Room in Nashville at Church and Vine Streets since 1904.) In 1923 Madison relocated, opening its new Nashville Vegetarian Cafeteria and Food Store in a new building at 151 Sixth Ave. North. They carried on successful work there until 1932, when the operation was taken over by four students on a project basis. Graduates of Madison also started vegetarian cafeterias and treatment rooms in Knoxville, Louisville, Memphis, Birmingham, and Asheville.
Madison Soyfoods Pioneers: Webber, Dittes and Bisalski. The 1930s were the "Golden Age" of soyfoods development at Madison. The great innovations made during this period were due in large part to the efforts of three people: Perry Webber, Frances Dittes, and Ed Bisalski.
Perry A. Webber was born on 15 June 1890 in Northville, Michigan. He graduated from Emmanuel Missionary College in 1911, married in 1912, and served as a pioneer Adventist missionary in Japan from 1913 to 1927. During this time he grew very fond of Japanese food and especially of Inari-zushi, made of deep-fried tofu pouches filled with vinegared rice. On his way to language school he used to stop in regularly at the Shinoda Sushi Shop in Kanda (now Awaji-cho) to enjoy their Inari-zushi. The shop once developed a special Webber Sushi, named after him, and they used his name in some of their promotional materials. He was also very fond of regular tofu and of miso soup. In Japan, Webber became principal of a self-supporting school, built by students and teachers, that grew into Japan Missionary College (Saniku Gakuin). In the fall of 1928 he entered Michigan State University to study biological chemistry while his wife, Ella Mae, studied nutrition; both were deeply interested in understanding the principles of good health. By May 1929 Perry was considered "one of our teachers" by Madison. In September 1930 the family moved to Madison while Perry finished his thesis. In June 1931 he was awarded his PhD degree biological chemistry and joined Madison College as an instructor in chemistry, with special interests in food chemistry and soyfoods development. In the following years he became the main person responsible for Madison's growing involvement with soyfoods. In November 1931 he wrote a long two-part article for The Madison Survey titled "Facts Concerning the Soybean." During the early 1930s he put a great deal of creative energy into expanding Madison's line of commercial soyfood products. Most of the products that were introduced between 1931 and 1934 (see the next section) were the result of his work. In August 1933 Webber and Dittes attended the annual convention of the American Soybean Association (ASA) in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Webber presented a lecture with slides at the convention about the importance of the soyfoods in Asia and their potential in America. He also prepared an exhibition of Madison soyfoods that was displayed at the convention. Webber was secretary-treasurer of the ASA for one year at this time. He visited Edsel Ruddiman at the Ford Motor Company and gave a talk to him and other leading research scientists about soyfoods. He was also a close friend of Dr. John Harvey Kellogg. He visited Kellogg, talked about soyfoods, and did some work developing a preservative for some of Kellogg's crackers. Webber worked at Madison until September 1935 when, after a big farewell party, he returned to Japan. In about 1936 he visited Dr. Harry Miller in Shanghai and helped him set up a sanitation and research lab for analyzing the soymilk products at his new plant. From 1939 to 1943, during World War II, Webber was back in the USA teaching at Madison as head of the chemistry department. He was also at Madison from 1946 to 1953 and from 1959 to 1962 (as an administrator at Madison Foods), each stay punctuated by work in Japan. He passed away in 1973 at age 82 of Parkinsonism.
Madison's second soyfoods pioneer was Frances Linda Dittes. Born in 1891, she first went to Madison as a student in 1910 and joined the faculty in 1912. She did her graduate work in nutrition, specializing in soyfoods nutrition, at George Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville, from which she received her MA degree in 1929. In May 1929, while dietician for the Madison Sanitarium, she wrote an article for The Madison Survey titled "Soy-bean Recipes," her first publication on soy, which included instructions for making soymilk and tofu, plus four recipes listed earlier. In October 1929 a paper she wrote on "The Calcium Content of Soybean Cheese" was summarized in the Journal of Home Economics. In January 1930 she wrote an article for The Madison Survey titled "Vegetable Milk," which described the preparation of soymilk and discussed its uses in infant feeding, citing various journal articles. In November 1931, at the annual meeting of the Tennessee Academy of Science, Miss Dittes presented a paper on "The Soybean as Human Food," parts of which were subsequently published as a long two-part article in the December The Madison Survey. She was now professor of home economics at the college as well as sanitarium dietician. In October 1930 she wrote an article for the newspaper on "Soybean Food Preparation for Infants" and in October 1932 on "Soy Milk in Infant Feeding." In December 1932 she was at Columbia University doing further graduate work. She wrote that a professor in the nutrition department there was very interested in Madison's soy bread.
In the spring of 1935 Madison College published a remarkable 330-page vegetarian cookbook, Food for Life, written by Miss Dittes, now listed as Director of Food and Nutrition at NANI and Madison Rural Sanitarium and Hospital. Printed on the school's presses, the book contained a 20-page chapter entitled "Nutritive Value of the Soy Bean" plus over 150 good soyfoods recipes, including Soy Acidophilus Milk (made by adding one acidophilus tablet to a pint of warm soymilk, then incubating), Soy Nut Bread, Waldorf Soy-Cheese Salad, Soy Cutlets, Soy Cream Custard, Escalloped Green Soybeans, Soy Fritters, Potato Soy Salad, Rice Baked with Soy Cheese, Soy Souffle', Soy Beans in Tomato Sauce, Soy Cheese and Scrambled Egg Sandwich, Spaghetti and Soy Cheese, Soy-Tomato Sandwich, Soy Bean Meat, and Soy Gravy. A good recipe was given for homemade tofu using either magnesium chloride or calcium sulfate as a coagulant. The remaining "soy bean cake" (okara) was used to make a loaf. Surprisingly Madison had not discovered the use of tofu or soymilk in soy ice creams or other desserts, or in dressings.
In May 1935, after attending Columbia and Cornell Universities, Dittes received her PhD in nutrition from Peabody College. She was the first Adventist to earn a PhD in nutrition. Her thesis was on the calcium content of soyfoods, especially tofu. She found that when tofu was made using either calcium sulfate, lactic acid, or rennet as a coagulant, that made with rennet had the highest calcium content. She also recommended the use of tofu in diabetic diets. Whereas Webber's contribution had been in product development, Dittes' was in recipe development and nutritional research. Thanks to her work, Madison began to offer a major in nutrition in about 1935 and she was head of the program. From 1935 to 1955 Dr. Dittes worked full time at Madison College and Hospital, expanding its nutrition department. She retired from Madison in 1960, having served on the faculty for 48 years, a staff record. She died on 7 April 1979 at age 88 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Madison's third soyfoods pioneer was Edwin M. Bisalski, born in 1903 in Pennsylvania. He went to Madison in 1931 as a college student, then in September 1933 he went to work with Madison Foods, being made General Manager and Chairman of the Board, a post he held until March 1945. During this time he did an outstanding job building up the small food company, introducing soyfoods to America and to other Adventist groups, getting endowments, enlarging the plant, and directing soyfoods research and development efforts. In 1939 U.D. Register and Shiro Kunihira joined Madison Foods' R&D staff and made key contributions at this critical stage. Bisalski spoke one year at the American Soybean Association meeting at Evansville, Indiana. In 1941, under his direction, a major expansion of Madison Foods took place. A practically new plant, with one section four stories high, was constructed. In 1945 Bisalski left the food company to finish his education. Shortly thereafter sales began to drop, so it was never necessary to use the new plant to capacity. In 1946 he received his BS in nutrition from Madison then did graduate study in nutrition and education at Peabody College and Michigan State University. In 1948 he returned to Madison Foods, this time as sales manager, a post he held until leaving in 1951 to continue private work in the area of healthful foods. He later became a science teacher, retired in 1971, and in 1981 (at age 78) was writing a book on nutrition.
Chronology of Madison Soyfoods Development
The initial date shown below is the date of earliest known mention. Commercial products may have been introduced at an earlier date. Unless otherwise stated, products were sold in 14- and 20-ounce cans.
Soyfoods During the 1930s. As shown in Table ??, many new Madison soyfoods were introduced during the 1930s. The Madison Survey ran many stories on soyfoods in the early 1930s. By November 1931, soy cheese (tofu) and soy flour had been used in scores of recipes tested at the Madison Rural Sanitarium and the Nashville Vegetarian Cafeteria. The flour was used in breads, rolls, and cakes; free recipes were offered. By January 1932, soy products were being used in ice cream, meatless roasts, bean loaf, and croquettes. By September 1932 five salesmen were selling Madison's soyfoods in Chattanooga and the surrounding territory; Breakfast Crisps and Vigorost were popular. On September 2-3, 1932 the American Soybean Association held a display of soyfoods in Washington, D.C. William Morse, then President of the ASA, had asked Madison to send Vigorost, Soy Cheese, Canned Soybeans (with tomato or plain), and Dixie Fruit Crackers; all were displayed there. By August 1933 Madison Foods was producing and selling canned Soy Cheese (tofu), Vigorost (a meat analog), soybean flour, and whole soybeans. In the early 1930s (probably about 1932-34) the food company [now named Madison Food Company] published an undated attractive six-panel flyer titled Madison Soy Cheese. It contained nine American-style tofu recipes and mentioned that the company then produced some 22 natural food products, seven of which were soyfoods: soy cheese (tofu), soy flour, dry soybeans, soy fruit crackers, canned soybeans (in tomato sauce or plain), and Vigorost. Several years later (probably about 1933-35) Madison Foods published an undated 21-page booklet entitled Vegetable Milk and Cheese: Manual No. 2. On the cover were pictures of the inside of the food factory and of 19 of Madison's products (8 canned and 11 boxed). The booklet contained 85 carefully developed American-style soyfoods recipes, including 67 for tofu, 8 for whole dry soybeans, 7 for soy meal, and 3 for soymilk. This was the largest collection of tofu recipes published in the US to date; often listed in recipes as "grated soy cheese," this tofu contained only 61.6% moisture and as much as 26.7% protein, making it firm enough for grating. This booklet also stated that soy milk, soy cheese, and soy beans were each available in 14 and 30 ounce cans, and soy flour in 5 and 10 pound sacks.
In August 1933 William Morse visited Madison for the second time to learn about their work with soy. From 1933 to 1938 Philip S. Chen, who later authored a popular book on soyfoods, taught chemistry at Madison and was head of the soybean food research laboratory. By the late 1930s Madison's work with soyfoods was attracting attention from the USDA and from firms around the US and abroad. In 1937 more than $60,000 worth of Madison's canned and packaged foods were sold in 27 states, from Miami to Michigan and out to California. They were available in health food stores, department and grocery stores, delicatessens, and restaurants. The six-page Madison Health Messenger, which started publication in the spring of 1938, was packed with information on Madison's soyfoods and vegetarian diets, including many recipes, ingredients listings, and nutritional information. This plus large ads for the foods generally occupied 50-60% of the publication. In 1938 Madison's Kreme O'Soy was billed as the only homogenized soymilk on the market to date. In the early days, Madison had used its okara to make Vigorost; later it was used in Zoyburgers.
The 1930s were Madison's "Golden Age," a time of great prosperity and influence. The college thrived during the Depression, when many non-self-supporting colleges were forced to close their doors. Starting in the late 1930s extensive media coverage brought Madison and its soyfoods worldwide attention. Madison's enrollment reached a peak of 500 and it came to be known in the South as "the school with a soul." In May 1938 Reader's Digest ran an article entitled "Self-Supporting College;" it included two long paragraphs on Madison Foods and brought in 20,000 letters of enquiry and 5,000 registration applications. (Mahatma Gandhi, in India, reprinted the entire Reader's Digest article in his publication Harijan.) The next month The New York Times did a feature story, followed by the St. Louis Post Dispatch, and many others. Articles focusing on soyfoods appeared in Food Industries, Chicago Journal of Commerce, Progressive Grocer, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Herald Examiner, The Globe and Mail (Toronto), and Physical Culture. (Dates??) From 1938 the school's own Madison Health Messenger helped with the publicity.
The 1940s and 1950s. The strong media coverage continued into the 1940s. On 6 April 1942, Newsweek ran a story on Madison. The September-October 1943 issue of the Tennessee Planner ran an excellent article entitled "The Soybean Goes to College," explaining how using soy helps to feed a hungry world and how the words "Contains no Animal Products" written on each can was the key to the motive for Madison's use of soyfoods. The author enjoyed a tasty typical meal at the college which included Yum (meatless meat balls), fresh soymilk, Zoy-Koff, and wheat and soy bread with soy margarine.
During World War II, Madison's soyfoods enjoyed widespread popularity and came to be widely used in typical American homes. On 19 February 1940 Nancy Booth Craig on her popular radio program "The Woman of Tomorrow" from WJZ, Radio City, New York, did a feature 30-minute broadcast on Madison's Soy Cheese (tofu). The next month she did a similar program featuring their gluten and tofu Vigorost. Sales grew rapidly. At the 1941 National Health Foods Convention in New York City, Madison Foods had a large exhibit titled "The World of Tomorrow in Soybeans." In November 1941 a building program was started to completely remodel the food factory on the original site, with a five-story (said four story above) production section. Ed Bisalski was the prime mover. The work was completed in October 1942 at a cost of $35,000. By 1942 Madison was distributing its foods to the 48 states and to some countries overseas.
By 1943 Madison's exciting line of soyfoods included Zoyburger (the best seller), Soy Cheese, Zoy-Koff, Wheatasoy, canned fresh green soybeans, Yum, Stake-lets, Vigorost, Kreme O'Soy (plain and chocolate), plus soy flour and soy-wheat crackers. By this time, the majority of Madison's foods included soy in some form. These products were in strong competition during the war years with similar lines of products produced by Battle Creek Foods, Loma Linda Foods, Miller's International Nutrition Laboratories, and Worthington Foods. Many of the latter had been based on the products initially developed at Madison. In The Useful Soybean (1945), Mildred Lager wrote "Perhaps the best known of the pioneer institutions is Madison College, Tennessee (which) is largely responsible for making soybeans appetizing." Madison soyfoods were a big hit at the American Soybean Association convention of 1948. Some 500 guests attended the "soybean banquet" in the ballroom of the famous Peabody Hotel in Memphis. Madison's Stakelets and Zoy-Koff (soybean coffee) were on the menu, served by the famous European and Waldorf Astoria chef Ernest L. Vollrath, who commented later in an interview, "The Stakelets are unusually good" (Ref??). William Morse said, "I always enjoy Madison Foods, especially Zoy-Koff." In November 1950 the Soybean Digest did a feature story on Madison Foods, describing in detail their "soy dairy and vegetarian slaughterhouse," with a photo of all their major soyfoods. With the end of World War II and the departure of Ed Bisalski in 1945, soyfoods sales began to fall. By the 1950s they had dropped sharply; during that decade, Madison Foods just managed to break even.
Despite the strength of the food business during the early 1940s, the school experienced hard times during what came to be known as "The Fateful Forties." Enrollment dropped to a low of 154 in 1944-45. In 1946 Sutherland, age 81, resigned as president to become secretary of the Commission on Rural Living; he had been president of Madison for 42 years. In 1954 the school celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. It now consisted of over 800 acres (mostly farmland), 27 self-supporting student-run industries, and a 220-bed sanitarium using natural healing methods. Dr. Sutherland, whose wife had died in 1952, remarried one of the founding pioneers, Bessie DeGraw, on the anniversary year. He was strong and healthy at 89, as was she at 83. A year later (June 1955) E.A. Sutherland died suddenly of appendicitis at age 90. His second wife lived to age 94.
1960 to 1972. Following Dr. Sutherland's death, the college entered a period of increased difficulty. It started to go into debt after 1958. In February 1963 ownership and operation of the college and sanitarium (renamed Madison Hospital) was transferred to the Southern Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. In November 1963 the State of Tennessee withdrew its accreditation for the nursing education program at Madison, largely due to the faculty's "academic inbreeding." This coupled with the heavy debts of the school and sanitarium, caused the school to close in September 1964. But the hospital/sanitarium was still in operation in 1984.
An important figure in soyfoods development during the 1960s was Sam Yoshimura. He had studied nutrition and food technology at Madison from 1937 to 1943 and had worked in Japan from 1946 to 1956 to help reestablish Saniku Foods. In 1956 he was asked by Madison Foods to come in to manage production, research, and development, which he did until 1963. Improved Chese-O-Soy (with tomato sauce) and Madison Burger (a great favorite), were introduced and sold well. In about 1961 the company published a nice booklet titled "The Story of Madison Foods," containing good photographs of the many products. The company manager was J.B. Craw. A new double-strength Kreme-O-Soy had just been introduced and a meatless wiener and a powdered soymilk were soon to be marketed. In 1963 (1967??) Sam Yoshimura, now working for the Madison Hospital, developed Madison's first frozen food known as Sam's Chicken. Made by blending tofu, wheat gluten, and other ingredients, the mixture was whipped, shaped into a loaf, baked briefly to sterilize it, torn into chunks, dipped into batter, then deep-fried to yield a delectable "meatless chicken," which was the progenitor of Worthington's Chickettes (and later frozen soy products) and received subsequent recognition at an International Restaurant Show in Chicago. Sam joined Worthington Foods in 1965 and was sent to work for 6 months at Africa Basic Foods, Inc. in Uganda, East Africa, where he helped to develop soymilk, tofu, and CSM for hospitals and school lunch programs (see Part 12, below).
In early 1962, production of Infa-Soy, based on a formula developed by Dr. Harry W. Miller, was started under the direction of his son, Willis Miller. The key to Infa-Soy was the addition to the formula of a little cooked rice (or the water therefrom; a small amount of rice was cooked in excess water for 10-15 minutes), which was very effective in preventing loose stools in infants consuming this soymilk. Madison Foods felt they had made a real breakthrough with Infa-Soy so they spent a considerable amount of money detailing (explaining) the product to pediatricians across America, developing a comprehensive marketing plan, and planning to buy new equipment for expansion. When Dr. Miller started to work with Madison outside money started to become available.
In 1964 Madison Foods was turned over to the Adventist Southern Union Association and became a division of the Nutrition International Corporation, which by 1966 had been acquired by Worthington Foods - largely because Worthington wanted Infa-Soy (liquid soy formula; Hartman 1966). A Mr. Bishop, one of its larger private investors, wanted to build Madison Foods into a big business. Unfortunately in one of the early batches of Infa-Soy (2,000-2,500 cases) a few of the cans bulged, indicating bacterial problems; the FDA made the company destroy the entire batch. By 1964, when the difficult problem of cans swelling still had not been solved, the company (Worthington Foods) dropped its detailing plans and in 1966 dropped Infa-Soy.
In June 1964, Worthington asked Kenneth Stepanske to come in from Worthington to replace John Scharfenberg as head manager. At that time Madison Foods was losing money. Madison took over some of Worthington's products and made them at Madison. Similar items such as Nu-Mete and Not-Meat were consolidated. Willis Miller helped in automating some slow manual operations. In the early 1960s Madison introduced a number of new meat analogs made primarily or entirely from wheat gluten: Meatless Stakelets, Meatless Nu-Steak, Dinner Morsels, and Mock Chicken. The gluten, unfortunately, proved to be the company's undoing, since the abundant starch washed out during its production caused major problems at the nearby city sewer plant. The company was asked to build its own $250,000 waste disposal system, but it could not afford to do so. In August 1970 Miles Laboratories, which had since acquired Worthington, shut down Madison Foods, moving it to Ohio?? in 1972 or 1973 and consolidating Madison's best product with Worthington's, so that they were given new life.
Madison Foods played a vital role in Adventist and American soyfoods history. It was the first company, before Van Gundy's La Sierra, Kellogg's Battle Creek, Loma Linda, or Worthington, to introduce a line of quality soyfoods to America.