You know you've created a great fictional character when she gets named the second most popular woman in America, behind Eleanor Roosevelt. That's exactly what happened in 1945 when Fortune magazine said that Betty Crocker was practically as well-liked as the First Lady, years before her famous cookbook and iconic "red spoon" baking mixes had even hit the shelves.
Betty Crocker, the most beloved cook ever to be cooked up, was the invention of the Washburn-Crosby Co., a flour company that later became General Mills. In 1921, Washburn-Crosby ran a puzzle contest in The Saturday Evening Post. The response was overwhelming, and along with their contest entries, many people wrote in with cooking and baking questions. Rather than answer on behalf of the company, Washburn-Crosby created Betty Crocker, so that all cooking advice would come from a woman. From there, Betty grew into one of America's longest-lasting icons – and one that many consumers don't realize isn't a real person.
What a Crocker:
- Beginning in 1924, Betty Crocker offered cooking advice via a radio program that became one of America's longest-running shows.
- The original portrait of Betty Crocker was a composite drawing featuring women working in Washburn-Crosby's home services department.
- An in-office contest among female employees led to the well-known Betty Crocker signature.