While finishing up a work project, Marine-veteran-turned-carpenter Frank Manteau decided to employ the use of a popular piece of Marine-issued gear: crayons. Switching from one color to another, he absentmindedly stuck one waxy stick in his mouth for safe keeping and continued scribbling. Before he knew it, he was doing what Marines do best: nomming on crayons.
When he finally realized the stereotype he was fulfilling, his next thought was, “Is there something to this?”
And thus, “Crayons Ready-to-Eat” was born.
“I know I’ve eaten crayons before when I was a kid, and now Marines are being called crayon eaters,” Manteau told Military Times, “I started researching and figured out that if we’re going to make them truly edible, they’ve got to be made out of chocolate.”
Only, he didn’t know how to do so. Luckily, Cassandra Gordon, one of the team members at the shop where he worked, happened to be a pastry chef. The pair soon went into business together, making edible crayons (that also draw!) out of their San Diego homes.
Crayons Ready-to-Eat officially launched in 2018, Task & Purpose first reported.
Manteau said that when he served from 1995 to 2002, Marines were not called crayon-eaters. And while there seems to be no clear origin story for the Marines-eat-crayons legend, Manteau did acknowledge that Marines “have been known to do the weirdest, stupidest things.”
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And as such, all good jokes are worth embracing. As the memes about Marines chowing down on Crayola crudités became a mainstay of military culture, Manteau saw an opportunity.
Before long, the duo was including stereotypes about other branches by way of their crayon palette, one that now includes Squid Blue, Flyboy Yellow, Jarhead Red, Dawg Face Green, and Puddle Pirate Orange.
These novelty coloring utensils also come wrapped in packaging designed to look just like MREs, bringing to bear the ultimate sense of nostalgia for anyone who served.
Unlike the typical Crayola product, however, these crayons are not cylindrical.
“Because of their triangle shape, you will not lose one because it rolled off your table,” according to the product site. “These are also much easier to hold and grip onto for just about any age.”
So, if you want your kid to be the best crayon-eating Marine they can be, consider starting them young. But in order to get these delectable treats in the hands of hangry Marines, Manteau and Gordon are seeking donations through FundtheFirst.
“We are asking for your support to help us ship our delicious edible crayons,” according to the site. “The $75,000 will cover our start-up expenses, legal fees, facility rent, custom molds, licensing, certification, and permits required to ship our product.”
About Sarah Sicard
Sarah Sicard is the Digital Editor of Military Times. She previously served as Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, Defense News, Fast Company, Business Insider and AdWeek.