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San Francisco

San Francisco

July 17, 2008

I keep wanting to burst into song…


“Rice-a-roni, the San Francisco treat.”

Does anyone else remember those commercials? Of course now I am curious, what does Rice-a-roni have to do with San Francisco? And why is it called a treat?

Posted by Chris @ 11:40 am  

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  1. Stephanie in AR says:

    San Francisco because that is where the family that decided to market a family favorite (Arminian dish )had their pasta shop.

  2. Jennifer says:

    I don’t know what in the world it has to do with San Francisco but I do know that I can’t ever buy it. I can’t get over the mix of rice and pasta and the strange sauces they use.

  3. Ramblin' Red says:

    Google is so helpful - here’s part of your answer http://www.ricearoni.com/rar_aboutUs/foundingFamily/

    Looks beautiful - wish I could have gone, but it was backed up to my 10th anniversary vacay with the hubs and I couldn’t take THAT much time off!

    Have fun!

  4. annie says:

    Not so much the actual commercial but the jingle. Rice-A-Roni originated in San Francisco. At my house growing up convenience was never a consideration, so anything pre-packaged was a “treat.” All the ingredients could be bought much more cheaply separately, you know.

  5. Becky says:

    That’s a really cool photo! According to Wikipedia, Rice-a-roni is called a “san francisco treat” … ‘With reference to the point of origin, either family-wise or factory-wise.”

    Apparently the business was started by a California business man who married an Italian woman and opened up a pasta business in San Francisco.

    Don’t you love the powers of the internet?!
    :) Becky

  6. Carolyn says:

    Not an answer to your question…but make sure that you get to go down Lombard St. I would suggest NOT in a limo though.

    I LOVE SF. Fog City Diner was our favorite restaurant. We’d sit at the bar and get dinner AND a show!

  7. kalisa says:

    I remember the ads, but when I scrolled down I was expecting a Tony Bennett song.

  8. lora says:

    I ALWAYS have that jingle in my head
    Rice! (ding ding)
    A Roni (dong dong)

    when he was first born, I would sing his name in the jingle (Jake! ding ding Our Last Name! dong dong) and say Philadelphia instead of San Fransisco. Finally my husband told me to stop. I didn’t even know I was doing it out loud.

    Gahd, post-partum is fun.

  9. Mel says:

    Now that I have the silly song going through my head, I did a google search and this is what I came up with.


    Go figure. You can find out just about anything by googling it (if that is even a word).
    Guess what I will have to have for supper now.

  10. Jamie AZ says:

    I grew up in the Bay Area, so I recall those commercials quite well! Enjoy the city and your mommy-alone time!

    And here’s info on the “why” of Rice-a-roni - http://www.ricearoni.com/rar_aboutUs/foundingFamily/index.cfm

  11. Karen says:

    I remember those commercials too. I always thought Rice-a-Roni must have started in San Fransisco, and thought of it as a treat compared to plain white rice.

  12. Lauren says:

    From the Rice-A-Roni FAQ sheet

    Why do people call Rice-A-Roni the San Franciso Treat?
    Rice-A-Roni is called “The San Francisco Treat” because the company and the product have their origins there.

  13. amyB says:

    According to wikipedia:


    With reference to the point of origin, either family-wise or factory-wise, it was called “The San Francisco Treat!” which is a registered trademark.

    I was hoping for something for more exciting, too. Have fun!

  14. amyB says:

    Was I really the first comment?! that never happens! Yay!

  15. leatitia says:

    wow, gorgeous!!!! have fun :)

  16. Amy says:

    As usual, great shot. I love how a few of those trees pop. I don’t have anything witty about the rice question. I do remember the jingle. I still sing it in my head along with the Keebler them for some snack they used to sell. Can’t remember the name, but it went, “now there’s new Rancheros (?), Rancheros light and crispy, cause they’re made by pequeno keebleros.” I honestly don’t know what Rancheros are or if that’s what the song says.

  17. TheMama says:

    Remember them?

    If I were on death row, my last meal would be all the Herb and Butter Rice-A-Roni I could eat.

    They probably wouldn’t have to zap me after that…

  18. Sara Shoys says:

    Rice-a-Roni was invented by an Italian Grocer who had a store in the Mission in San Francisco. Although the Rice-a-Roni product (half rice half pasta, thus the name) wasn’t first introduced on store shelves in California, its commercial featured scenes of the San Francisco cable cars and the jingle to go along with it, so people always just associated the product with San Francisco.

  19. CarolynOnline says:

    It’s THE San Franciso treat. I don’t think you’re supposed to question it. It just is.

  20. Nicki says:

    I do remember the song and can’t pass a box of it in the supermarket without singing it. Much to the embarrassment of anyone who has to hear.

  21. Christy says:


    I actually heard an interview on NPR one day about the creator of Rice-A-Roni. The creator was an immigrant from Italy. He named the tiny “grains” of pasta Rice-A-Roni because it was “Macaroni that looked like Rice.”

  22. Christy says:

    Oh yeah, he lived in California.

  23. Stephanie says:

    Just so you know how much a nerd I really am, when I went to San Fran. a few years ago, my cousin and I took a box of Rice a Roni with us and we took a picture of ourselves, on the trolley, with the box of Rice-a-Roni.

    Holly Burns would be so ashamed.

  24. Hope says:

    I just know that every game show growing up gave out Rice-a-Roni as a consolation prize. Sorry you didn’t win this car, but enjoy a year’s worth of Rice-a-Roni!

  25. Asianmommy says:

    Good points! According to wikipedia, it originated in San Francisco. As to why it’s a treat? I got nothing.

  26. Fina says:

    Hi - its me, Fina from Long Island, but originally from San Francisco. I just got back to LI from SF at 1:30 in the morning today!!! I love that city so much more since I moved away from it. Came home with sourdough bread, See’s Candy, Tim’s Potato Chips (from Washington not SF but they’re not here in NY). I hope you enjoy your stay and I hope you brought a couple sweaters with you!
    (PS - ditto on coming back as a Dad!)

  27. Jen says:

    I will never forget that song, because my maiden name was Rice, and as a kid other children used to sing it to me and call me Rice-a-roni. It never really bothered me–I mean it’s not like that’s a horrible insult or something. But I just heard it so often as a child, it will be in my head forever.

  28. gorillabuns says:

    because it’s $2.99 a box. THAT is why it’s a treat.

  29. threeundertwo says:

    Forget Rice-a-roni. Have an It’s-It. You’ll thank me later.


  30. ellen says:

    All I can say is be careful not to watch the trolleys while walking. You just might walk into one of those lovely brass posts and break your nose, forcing you to walk around downtown with a cold soda on your face. Not that I know anything about that kind of experience, of course. Have fun!

  31. Nancy says:

    Hi, I was in San Francisco in June. Don’t get on that cable car, they stuff you in till they can’t stuff anymore! Loved the rest.

  32. Victoria says:

    OMG that’s so funny! I saw this photo of yours in flickr and saw it was San Francisco and the first thing I thought was “Riiiiiiiiice A Roni, the San Francisco treat!” but then I thought I was weird. Now I feel normal! :D


  33. Jen says:

    I felt the exact same way when Hubster and I visited!

  34. Julia says:

    Oh my you can almost see my house in that picture- just across the Bay :)

  35. Gretchen says:

    I, too, thought you were going to sing about your heart, but as soon as I read the jingle, an image of Let’s Make a Deal popped into my head. So ditto on the game show comment above!

  36. Kate says:

    I am pregnant and was fiercely craving some Rice-A-Roni yesterday. Nevermind that I probably haven’t tasted Rice-A-Roni in 5 years. I never got any yesterday, and this post has reignited the craving.

  37. myfullhands says:

    I thought you were going to sing “I left my heart in Saaaan Fraaaaansisco” maybe when you leave, or not:)

  38. dc says:

    ok…so who remembers the little ditty near the end of the commercial where it goes “and save a potatoooooo”..and then goes back into the little ‘rice’ DING! DING! ‘a-roni…the SF treat. ? come on…anyone remember that part? that wuz my fav.

  39. Linda Sherman says:

    I met the lovely Crystal McKee tonight so I am one step removed from you now as you are on a panel with her Friday at 12:45. I hope to meet you during BlogHer!

  40. bombaygirl says:

    I used to work at that dun colored building in the photo…

  41. Patti says:

    Thanks- Now I can’t get that stupidjingle out of my head!! Seriously, I am really enjoying reading your posts from BlogHer while enjoying a glass of wine (at less than $15 a glass).