For decades, Adventists throughout the world have been enjoying the delicious meat substitute known as ‘FriChik’. It was first brought into common use in the 1940s, to encourage Adventists in the Southern United States to give up meat and convert entirely to vegetarianism. The moment FriChik hit the shelves and serving lines of the Adventist Book Centers and colleges it was a success. Students hoarded cans of it during the school year to bring home to their families in the summer.
In the 1960s, after several attempts to steal the recipe, Worthington foods (owned by the Adventist Church at the time) reached out to the the presidents of the Adventist Universities in the United States, asking if one them would be willing to house the secret recipe for FriChik in their archives. The Presidents gathered together at the 1962 General Conference Session in San Francisco to discuss who would house it.
President S. D. Algood from Andrews voted that Andrews not hold it, as it’d be the obvious choice to look for something so near and dear the the hearts of so many Adventists. Southwestern Adventist University (Southwestern Union College at the time) said neither they nor Southern should be given the privilege, as the dish had originally targeted Adventists in the Southern Region and keeping the recipe so close to them might be too much a temptation for their library staff.
Walla Walla said that they wouldn’t mind the honor of housing the recipe within their Library, however Pacific Union College spoke up and said that the West Coast schools would be the second place most would look for it.
The executive from Worthington was beginning to despair that there was no safe place for the recipe when Dr. N. E. Goodlyfe of Union College suggested Union’s growing archives would be an excellent place. Union was centralized in the middle of the country, with a smaller student population who could more easily conceal the secret. Plus, he argued, that with so many of the students often being midwestern kids from farming families, they craved real meat more, so the frichik recipe wouldn’t be such a temptation to them. The other schools agreed. After all, most people never thought about Union, and being in the middle of Nebraska, surely no one would go all that way just to steal a FriChik recipe.
The recipe was moved into the library in the summer of the following year. Current library staff declined to comment on it, outside of confirming that it did indeed reside in the library. A former library student worker, wishing to remain anonymous, assured the Mocktower that the recipe resides in the Heritage Room, and that they’d heard it was somewhere among the Ellen White books. But Adventists can rest safe knowing that the recipe for a much beloved food is in the safe and silent hands of the Union College Library.
Betty Bryson is studying to be a professional tic-tac-toe player.