The Food That Built America

The BEST episodes of The Food That Built America

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

For generations of Americans, food titans like Henry Heinz, Milton Hershey, John and Will Kellogg, C.W. Post and the McDonald brothers have literally been household names, but you don't know their stories. Before they were brand names, they were brilliant, sometimes ruthless, visionaries who revolutionized food and changed the landscape of America forever. This series event will tell the fascinating stories of the people behind the food that built America – those who used brains, muscle, blood, sweat and tears to get to America's heart through its stomach, and along the way built cities, invented new technologies and helped win wars.

Last Updated: 5/20/2022Network: History
Share:
When the Chips Are Down
star
8.46
24 votes

#1 - When the Chips Are Down

Season 2 - Episode 13 - Aired 6/6/2021

As C.E. Doolin and Herman Lay try to control the chips business in the 1950s, their success inspires one of the biggest companies in the world to design a strong, saddle-shaped chip and a revolutionary container to ship them in.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
Submarine Warfare
star
8.38
13 votes

#2 - Submarine Warfare

Season 3 - Episode 1 - Aired 2/27/2022

High School friends see an alternative to fast food with the "submarine" sandwich. But they are quickly met with the fierce competition of a new submarine joint, started by a physicist, that is trying to perfect the art of the franchise, and will go on to be the biggest restaurant chain in the world.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
The TV Dinner
star
8.27
26 votes

#3 - The TV Dinner

Season 2 - Episode 10 - Aired 4/11/2021

Gilbert Swanson inherits his father's frozen turkey company and partners with a food chemist to innovate a revolutionary dinner that Americans can heat up at home.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
Pizza Wars
star
8.23
43 votes

#4 - Pizza Wars

Season 2 - Episode 1 - Aired 2/9/2021

In the 1950's, two brothers from Wichita, Kan., aim to build their restaurant, Pizza Hut, by introducing America to Italian dish-pizza; Americans soon fall in love with their pizza, but rival, Domino's, threatens to derail their success.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
Cookie Fortunes
star
8.15
13 votes

#5 - Cookie Fortunes

Season 3 - Episode 6 - Aired 4/3/2022

Hollywood agent Wally Amos transforms his professional life when he decides to make and sell his own gourmet chocolate chip cookies, and opens America's first cookie store; housewife Debbi Fields opens her homestyle cookie shop in a mall.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
Best Served Cold
star
8.15
53 votes

#6 - Best Served Cold

Season 1 - Episode 2 - Aired 8/12/2019

A new breed of innovator rises up to expand American industry and push the limits of new technology; a father-and-son duo named Mars start on a path to challenge the chocolate throne.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
Soup of the Century
star
8.15
27 votes

#7 - Soup of the Century

Season 2 - Episode 8 - Aired 3/28/2021

When a chemist begins working at the Joseph A. Campbell preserve company, he invents a condensed soup that brings this rare luxury to the nation for the first time. It also attracts the attention of Henry Heinz, who becomes a bitter competitor.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
Cola Wars
star
8.14
29 votes

#8 - Cola Wars

Season 2 - Episode 5 - Aired 3/7/2021

In the 1970s, one major cola brand launches a blind taste-test marketing plan that takes direct aim at their biggest competitor.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
A Cold One
star
8.09
11 votes

#9 - A Cold One

Season 3 - Episode 2 - Aired 3/6/2022

In the late 1800s, German immigrants Joseph Schlitz and Captain Frederick Pabst find themselves in a battle for beer dominance. In their fight for one upmanship they will help create the most popular alcoholic beverage on the planet.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
The Chocolate Rush
star
8.09
35 votes

#10 - The Chocolate Rush

Season 2 - Episode 2 - Aired 2/14/2021

In 1919, Milton Hershey is king of the chocolate, but everything changes when sugar prices drop in the new post-WWI era; competitors spring up, including Hershey's former employee HB Reese, who goes on to create one of the bestselling candies ever.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
The Best Thing Since…
star
8.00
16 votes

#11 - The Best Thing Since…

Season 3 - Episode 5 - Aired 3/27/2022

In a quest to dominate the growing commercial bread industry, Lee Marshall bets on a new kind of white loaf, unwittingly inspiring a homemaker named Margaret Rudkin to come up with a healthier alternative.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
The Beef is On
star
8.00
15 votes

#12 - The Beef is On

Season 3 - Episode 7 - Aired 4/10/2022

When Col. Sanders sells his company to investors in 1964, the new owners identify a rising star within the organization: Dave Thomas.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
Pop Stars
star
8.00
14 votes

#13 - Pop Stars

Season 3 - Episode 8 - Aired 4/17/2022

Small town farmer Orville Redenbacher has a lifelong dream of creating the perfect popcorn kernel, leading to the first significant development of popcorn in thousands of years which he sells nationwide, eventually pitting him against industry rivals for supremacy of America’s oldest snack.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
The Rise of a Rival
star
7.94
18 votes

#14 - The Rise of a Rival

Season 2 - Episode 14 - Aired 6/13/2021

Candy company president Charles Guth buys a bankrupt cola company and goes to war with the supplier who wronged him and its new CEO, maverick businessman Robert Woodruff.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
Lines in the Sand
star
7.94
63 votes

#15 - Lines in the Sand

Season 1 - Episode 1 - Aired 8/11/2019

In the wake of the Civil War, a revolution is taking place on the backs of visionary entrepreneurs of industry. Before they become brand names, budding innovators like Henry Heinz, John and Will Kellogg, and C.W. Post push the limits of ingenuity to launch businesses that will revolutionize industry, and change the landscape of the nation forever.

Watch Now:Amazon
Do or Donut
star
7.92
13 votes

#16 - Do or Donut

Season 3 - Episode 3 - Aired 3/13/2022

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
The Spoils of War
star
7.86
51 votes

#17 - The Spoils of War

Season 1 - Episode 3 - Aired 8/13/2019

As the Great Depression hits, the titans of food push the envelope of innovation to feed a hungry nation. Then WWII sees competing industrial empires joining the war effort in a united front to fuel the forces fighting for freedom abroad. And in Post-War America, visionaries like Harland Sanders, the McDonald brothers and Ray Kroc battle to revolutionize the restaurant industry, and pave the way for the golden age of the American dream.

Watch Now:Amazon
Godfathers of Fast Food
star
7.86
21 votes

#18 - Godfathers of Fast Food

Season 2 - Episode 9 - Aired 4/4/2021

A short order chef invents the hamburger bun and engineers a new way of making a burger faster than ever before; Nathan Handwerker invests his life savings into a hot dog stand at Coney Island.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
The Kings of Burgers
star
7.84
44 votes

#19 - The Kings of Burgers

Season 2 - Episode 3 - Aired 2/21/2021

In the 1950s, Ray Kroc franchises McDonald's nationwide, but right behind Kroc, a wave of other entrepreneurs try to cash in on the fast-food restaurant craze. Two Florida visionaries start up what will become Kroc's biggest rival, by re-inventing their kitchen's equipment into the pioneering "flame broiler."

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
Chip Dynasties
star
7.83
24 votes

#20 - Chip Dynasties

Season 2 - Episode 6 - Aired 3/14/2021

Herman Lay takes regional and small-time chips business to a national scale with his cutting-edge sales techniques and world-changing packaging technology, while a rival innovator invents a new kind of snack chip that will challenge Lay's crown.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
Cookie Wars
star
7.83
24 votes

#21 - Cookie Wars

Season 2 - Episode 7 - Aired 3/21/2021

A business partnership gone wrong leads Adolphus Green to create one of the most iconic cookie and cracker companies in history, and it revolutionizes packaging.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
American Cheese
star
7.80
35 votes

#22 - American Cheese

Season 2 - Episode 4 - Aired 2/28/2021

At the turn of the 20th century, James Kraft challenges centuries of cheese-making tradition and forever alters the dairy industry with his new cheese innovation. Meanwhile, the Pabst brothers are desperate to keep their successful beer empire solvent through Prohibition.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
Gum Slingers
star
7.79
14 votes

#23 - Gum Slingers

Season 2 - Episode 15 - Aired 6/20/2021

William Wrigley stumbles upon a new product that kickstarts a revolution across industries and sparks a life-long rivalry.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
A Game of Chicken
star
7.73
15 votes

#24 - A Game of Chicken

Season 2 - Episode 12 - Aired 5/31/2021

In the 1970’s, Ray Kroc is far ahead of the competition. But when a burger chain claiming to be king poaches his third-highest ranking executive, Don Smith, it’s war. Smith re-engineers the emerging rival, using the best ideas of his former franchise to modernize the brand. In an unprecedented move, Ray Kroc brings on a world renowned chef to develop the chicken nugget, breakfast, and try to crush the would-be king once and for all.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
Ice Cream Empires
star
7.69
26 votes

#25 - Ice Cream Empires

Season 2 - Episode 11 - Aired 4/18/2021

A young boy accidentally discovers a frozen treat on a stick; a candy store owner reinvents ice cream and launches the first ever ice cream truck; when two men own a patent on the same thing, a battle erupts.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes