BETTY CROCKER is a character used in advertising campaigns for food
and recipes. It was originally created by the Washburn-Crosby Company
in 1921 following a contest in the Saturday Evening Post that required
a female response. In 1954,
General Mills , an American Fortune 500
corporation branded the red spoon logo, giving various food-related
merchandise the Betty Seal of Approval. A portrait of Betty Crocker
first commissioned in 1936 and revised several times since appears on
printed advertisements and product packaging. On television and radio
Betty Crocker was portrayed by several actresses, most
Adelaide Hawley Cumming between 1949 and 1964.
The character was first developed by
Marjorie Husted in 1921 as a way
to give a personalized response to consumer product questions. The
name Betty was selected because it was viewed as a cheery,
all-American name. It was paired with the last name Crocker, in honor
of William Crocker, a Washburn Crosby Company director.
Described as an American cultural icon , image of
Betty Crocker has
endured several generations, adapting to changing social, political
and economic currents. Apart from advertising campaigns in printed,
broadcast and digital media, she received a number of cultural
references in film, literature, music and comics.
* 1 Founding
* 2 Cookbook publications
* 3 Media
* 4 Legacy
* 5 Products
* 6 See also
* 7 References
* 8 Sources
* 9 External links
Betty Crocker was created in 1921 by
Marjorie Husted , a home
economist and businesswoman, and advertiser Bruce Barton . Under
Husted's supervision the image of
Betty Crocker became the God of
General Mills. In 1928, Washburn Crosby merged with five other milling
companies to form General Mills.
In 1924, Betty acquired a voice with the debut of "The Betty Crocker
Cooking School of the Air" on one station in Minneapolis. It was the
country's first radio cooking show, and Agnes White was selected to
portray Betty Crocker. The show proved popular, and eventually was
carried nationally on
NBC Radio, with Agnes as Betty. Over the next
two decades, Agnes would anonymously portray
Betty Crocker on the air
and at cooking schools.
Betty Crocker coupons were introduced. Inserted in bags of
flour, they could be used to reduce the cost of Oneida Limited
flatware . By 1932, this scheme had become so popular that General
Mills began to offer an entire set of flatware; the pattern was called
"Friendship" (later renamed "Medality"). In 1937, the coupons were
printed on the outside of packages, copy on which told purchasers to
"save and redeem for big savings on fine kitchen and home accessories
in our catalog ".
General Mills issued softbound recipe books, including in
1933 Betty Crocker's 101 Delicious
Bisquick Creations, As Made and
Served by Well-Known Gracious Hostesses, Famous Chefs, Distinguished
Epicures and Smart Luminaries of Movieland.
Betty Crocker Cook Book of All-Purpose Baking. (published
as an aid to wartime considerations in cooking).
In 1950, the
Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook was published. It was
written by Agnes White Tizard, a nutritionist and a member of Alpha
Delta Pi sorority.
In 2005, the 10th edition of the
Betty Crocker cookbook was
published, as well as a Spanish /English bilingual book that collects
some of the more common recipes for Spanish-speaking readers looking
to cook American-style food. An 11th edition, in ring-binder format,
appeared in 2011. At least 17 other
Betty Crocker recipe collections
were also in print in 2015. Recipes and collections are also available
Betty Crocker programs first appeared on radio on local stations in
1924. The first network
Betty Crocker broadcast was on
NBC in 1926.
The show remained on network radio until 1953; most of the time the
program was on
CBS , but it was on ABC from 1947 to 1953.
In 1949, actress
Adelaide Hawley Cumming became
Betty Crocker for
many years. She appeared for several years on The George Burns and
Gracie Allen Show , and even had her own TV show. She also appeared
CBS network's first color commercial, in which she baked a
"mystery fruit cake". Hawley continued to portray
Betty Crocker until
A portrait of
Betty Crocker was first commissioned in 1936, a
"motherly image" that "blended the features of several Home Service
Department members" that was painted by
Neysa McMein . It subtly
changed over the years, but always accommodated General Mills'
cultural perception of the American homemaker — knowledgeable and
caring. The 1996 portrait of Betty Crocker, according to General
Mills, was partially inspired by a "computerized composite" of "75
women of diverse backgrounds and ages." These portraits were always
painted, with no real person ever having posed as a model.
In 1945, Fortune magazine named
Betty Crocker the second most popular
woman in America;
Eleanor Roosevelt was named first. Fortune
published an article "outing" Betty Crocker's fictitious nature,
calling her a "fake" and a "fraud."
Andrew Hussie (the creator of Homestuck) used Betty Crocker
as one of the enemies in his comic.
The Minneapolis suburb of
Golden Valley, Minnesota
Golden Valley, Minnesota (where General
Mills is headquartered) has a street named
Betty Crocker Drive.
There are a number of Betty Crocker-branded products, such as plastic
food containers and measuring cups, and a line of small appliances
like popcorn poppers and sandwich makers with the
Betty Crocker brand
In 2006, the
Betty Crocker catalog operation went out of business
with all of its inventory on sale. Points were redeemable until
December 15, 2006. A new online store was launched in April 2007 but
discontinued sometime thereafter.
Betty Crocker recipes and tips from the "Atomic Age" of the 1950s are
of cultural interest.
The 2009 webcomic
Andrew Hussie featured Betty Crocker
as a company ruled by an evil alien and was a major plot point
throughout the entire story.
Betty Crocker Brownie bar
Betty Crocker Cookbook
Betty Crocker baking mixes
* Fruit Roll Up
Betty Crocker canned frosting
* Bowl Appetit shelf-stable entrees
Betty Crocker Soda Licious (discontinued)
* Cake and dessert decorating products
* Fruit by the Foot
Hamburger Helper and related products
* Potato Buds instant mashed potatoes
* Suddenly Salad mixes
* 'Shake and make' pancake mix
* Warm Delights microwavable desserts
Betty Crocker Kitchens
* ^ Goetz, Kathryn. "Betty Crocker". MNOPEDIA. Retrieved 3 May
* ^ "The Story of Betty Crocker". Betty Crocker. Betty Crocker.
Retrieved 28 April 2016.
* ^ A B Adema, Pauline (2006). Dennis Hall; Susan G. Hall, eds.
American Icons: An Encyclopedia of the People, Places, and Things that
Have Shaped Our Culture. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 73–. ISBN
* ^ Charles H. Lippy (2005). Do Real Men Pray?: Images of the
Christian Man and Male Spirituality in White Protestant America. Univ.
of Tennessee Press. pp. 133–. ISBN 978-1-57233-358-1 .
* ^ "Agnes White Tizard: Betty Crocker". Retrieved 14 January 2014.
* ^ Jarvits, Janet. "
Betty Crocker Edition History". General Mills.
* ^ "Accomplished
Alpha Delta Pi
Alpha Delta Pi Members in Education and Science".
Archived from the original on 5 September 2010. Retrieved 26 February
* ^ Dunning, John. (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time
Radio. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3 . P. 82.
* ^ A B Dakss, Brian (May 6, 2005). "
Betty Crocker Unveiled". CBS
News Sunday Morning .
* ^ "Adelaide Hawley Cumming, 93, Television\'s First Betty
Crocker". The New York Times. The New York Times. Retrieved 28 April
* ^ From Bold Suffragette to
Betty Crocker 150 Years of SAIC
* ^ "The
Betty Crocker Portraits". General Mills. Retrieved 7
* ^ Marks, Susan (2005). Finding
Betty Crocker : the secret life of
America's first lady of food. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN
0743265017 . LCCN 2004061566 .
OCLC 56880048 .
* ^ "City Streets, Sidewalks, ">(PDF). City of Golden Valley
Minnesota. City of Golden Valley, Minnesota. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
* ^ Tamar Adler (October 27, 2015). "Betty Crocker\'s Absurd,
Gorgeous Atomic-Age Creations The iconic brand\'s midcentury recipes
evoke the era\'s peculiar optimism, encased in gelatin and smothered
in mayonnaise.". The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved November 1,
2015. segment of American culinary life is on display
* ^ "A Box of Betty" (Images). aboxofbetty.tumblr.com. Tumbir.
Retrieved November 1, 2015.
Betty Crocker product list, General Mills
17. "Homestuck," Andrew Hussie, 2009
* Tori Avey (February 15, 2013). "Who Was Betty Crocker?".
* Dunning, John. On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio.
Oxford University Press, 1998. ISBN 0-19-507678-8
* Marks, Susan. (2007) Finding Betty Crocker: The Secret Life of
America's First Lady of Food University of Minnesota Press. ISBN
978-0-8166-5018-7 (popular book.)
* Crocker, Betty. Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book. New York:
McGraw–Hill and General Mills, 1950 (first edition of the "Big Red"
* Gray, James. Business without Boundary: The Story of General
Mills. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1954 (scholarly
history of General Mills, including the invention of Crocker.)
* Shapiro, Laura. "Is She Real?" In Something from the Oven:
Reinventing Dinner in 1950s America, 169–209. New York: Viking, 2004
Betty Crocker in a popular book with footnotes.)
* "Homestuck," Andrew Hussie, 2009