Betty Crocker is a fictional 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. 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, on radio
Marjorie Husted for twenty years, and on television by Adelaide
Hawley Cumming between 1949 and 1964.
The character was first developed 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, the 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.
2 Cookbook publications
6 See also
9 External links
Betty Crocker was founded in 1921 by Washburn-Crosby and advertiser
Bruce Barton. Under Marjorie Husted's supervision the image of
Betty Crocker became the "Zeus" of General Mills. In 1928, Washburn
Crosby merged with other milling companies to form General Mills.
In 1924, Crocker 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 program. Blanche Ingersoll followed by
Husted were selected to portray Betty Crocker. The show proved
popular, and eventually was carried nationally on
NBC Radio, with
Agnes White as Betty. Over the next three decades, the women would
Betty Crocker on the air and at cooking
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 huge 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, despite
negative press surrounding the word "moist". It was written by Agnes
White Tizard, a nutritionist and a member of Alpha Delta Pi
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
NBC or CBS, but it was on ABC from 1947 to 1953.
In 1949, the actress
Adelaide Hawley Cumming
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, Betty Crocker
Star Matinee. She also appeared in the
CBS network's first color
commercial, in which she baked a "mystery fruit cake". Hawley
continued to portray
Betty Crocker until 1964.
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
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."[specify]
Betty Crocker also appears as an antagonist in the popular webcomic
Homestuck by Andrew Hussie.
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 secretly ruled by an evil alien empress and was a major plot
point throughout the story.
Betty Crocker Brownie bar
Betty Crocker Cookbook
Betty Crocker baking mixes
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–.
^ Patrick, Jeanette (2017), "Aunt Jemima and Betty Crocker: American
Cultural Icons that Never Existed", National Women's History
^ 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
^ Jarvits, Janet. "
Betty Crocker Edition History". General
Alpha Delta Pi
Alpha Delta Pi Members in Education and Science".
Archived from the original on 5 September 2010. Retrieved 26 February
^ man, VANNY. the crokk. Hannibal.
^ 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".
Sunday Morning. CBS.
^ McDonough, John; Egolf, Karen (2015). The Advertising Age
Encyclopedia of Advertising. Routledge. ISBN 9781135949136.
Retrieved 17 October 2017.
^ "Adelaide Hawley Cumming, 93, Television's First Betty Crocker". The
New York Times. The New York Times. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
^ a b "New
Betty Crocker dressed for success". Spokesman-Review.
(Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. May 23, 1986.
^ "From Bold Suffragette to
Betty Crocker - 150 Years of SAIC".
www.saic.edu. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
Betty Crocker Portraits". General Mills. Retrieved 7 January
^ 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, & Trails Map" (PDF). City of Golden
Valley Minnesota. City of Golden Valley, Minnesota. Retrieved 28 April
^ 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
^ "Products". bettycrocker.com. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
17. "Homestuck," Andrew Hussie, 2009
Tori Avey (February 15, 2013). "Who Was Betty Crocker?". PBS
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 (chapter on
Betty Crocker in a popular book with footnotes.)
"Homestuck," Andrew Hussie, 2009
Collection of mid-twentieth century advertising featuring Betty
Crocker from The TJS Labs Gallery of Graphic Design.
Betty Crocker in MNopedia, the Minnesota Encyclopedia
Betty Crocker official site
Betty Crocker products
Who was Betty Crocker, GMU
Marks, Susan, Finding Betty Crocker, archived from the original on
Fish Hawley Cumming, Adelaide, Biography, I love the
Cadwallader C. Washburn
Charles Alfred Pillsbury
James Ford Bell
William de la Barre
Adelaide Hawley Cumming
Cinnamon Toast Crunch
French Toast Crunch
Honey Nut Cheerios
Honey Nut Clusters
Old El Paso
Fruit by the Foot
Gold Medal Flour
Natural and organic
Food Should Taste Good
Betty Crocker Kitchens
Cereal Partners Worldwide
General Mills Radio Adventure Theater
Mill City Museum
Hazard analysis and critical control points
BNF: cb160575572 (data)
^ a b "MS Paint Adventures". www.mspaintadventures.com. Retrieved 23