AKA: batter witch is a cultural icon
A cultural icon can be a symbol, logo, picture, name, face, person, building or other image that is readily recognized and generally represents an object or concept with great cultural significance to a wide cultural group...
, as well as brand name and trademark
A trademark, trade mark, or trade-mark is a distinctive sign or indicator used by an individual, business organization, or other legal entity to identify that the products or services to consumers with which the trademark appears originate from a unique source, and to distinguish its products or...
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...
The Fortune 500 is an annual list compiled and published by Fortune magazine that ranks the top 500 U.S. closely held and public corporations as ranked by their gross revenue after adjustments made by Fortune to exclude the impact of excise taxes companies collect. The list includes publicly and...
A corporation is created under the laws of a state as a separate legal entity that has privileges and liabilities that are distinct from those of its members. There are many different forms of corporations, most of which are used to conduct business. Early corporations were established by charter...
General Mills, Inc. is an American Fortune 500 corporation, primarily concerned with food products, which is headquartered in Golden Valley, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis. The company markets many well-known brands, such as Betty Crocker, Yoplait, Colombo, Totinos, Jeno's, Pillsbury, Green...
. The name was first developed by the Washburn Crosby Company 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.
Marjorie Child Husted was a home economist who helped develop the brand character Betty Crocker.Born in Minneapolis, Marjorie Child, she was a graduate of the University of Minnesota and an initiated member of Alpha Delta Pi.In 1924, the daytime radio broadcast Betty Crocker Cooking School of the...
was the creator of Betty Crocker. She was a home economist and businesswoman under whose supervision the image of Betty Crocker became an icon for General Mills. In 1921, Washburn Crosby merged with five or more other milling companies to form General Mills.
In 1929, Betty Crocker coupon
In marketing, a coupon is a ticket or document that can be exchanged for a financial discount or rebate when purchasing a product. Customarily, coupons are issued by manufacturers of consumer packaged goods or by retailers, to be used in retail stores as a part of sales promotions...
s were introduced. Inserted in bags of flour
Flour is a powder which is made by grinding cereal grains, other seeds or roots . It is the main ingredient of bread, which is a staple food for many cultures, making the availability of adequate supplies of flour a major economic and political issue at various times throughout history...
, they could be used to reduce the cost of Oneida Limited
Oneida Limited is one of the world's largest marketers of stainless steel flatware, and offers a range of tabletop products. Its operations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom and Australia market stainless, silverplated, and sterling flatware products, china dinnerware, and...
Cutlery refers to any hand implement used in preparing, serving, and especially eating food in the Western world. It is more usually known as silverware or flatware in the United States, where cutlery can have the more specific meaning of knives and other cutting instruments. This is probably the...
. 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".
From 1930, General Mills issued softbound recipe books, including in 1933 Betty Crocker's 101 Delicious Bisquick
Bisquick is a pre-mixed baking product sold by General Mills under their Betty Crocker brand, consisting of flour, shortening, salt, and baking powder ....
Creations, As Made and Served by Well-Known Gracious Hostesses, Famous Chefs, Distinguished Epicures and Smart Luminaries of Movieland.
In 1945, Fortune magazine named Betty Crocker the second most popular American woman; Eleanor Roosevelt
Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was the First Lady of the United States from 1933 to 1945. She supported the New Deal policies of her husband, distant cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and became an advocate for civil rights. After her husband's death in 1945, Roosevelt continued to be an international...
was named first.
In 1949, Granger Crocker sent a post card to J. W. Schucak about Betty being crowned "best cook" in her town.
In 1949, actress Adelaide Hawley Cumming
Adelaide Hawley Cumming was a vaudeville performer, radio host, living trademark for General Mills, and teacher.-Early career:...
became Betty Crocker for many years. She appeared for several years on the Burns and Allen
Burns and Allen, an American comedy duo consisting of George Burns and his wife, Gracie Allen, worked together as a comedy team in vaudeville, films, radio and television and achieved great success over four decades.-Vaudeville:...
, and even had her own TV show. She also appeared in the CBS
CBS Broadcasting Inc. is a major US commercial broadcasting television network, which started as a radio network. The name is derived from the initials of the network's former name, Columbia Broadcasting System. The network is sometimes referred to as the "Eye Network" in reference to the shape of...
network's first color commercial, in which she baked a "mystery fruit cake". Hawley continued to portray Betty Crocker until 1964.
In 1950, the Betty Crocker Cookbook was published. It was written by Agnes White Tizard, a nutritionist and a member of Alpha Delta Pi
Alpha Delta Pi is a fraternity founded on May 15, 1851 at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia. The Executive office for this sorority is located on Ponce de Leon Avenue in Atlanta, Georgia. Alpha Delta Pi is one of the two "Macon Magnolias," a term used to celebrate the bonds it shares with Phi Mu...
A portrait of Betty Crocker first appeared in 1936. It subtly changed over the years, but always accommodated General Mills' cultural perception of the American homemaker: knowledgeable and caring. The current image of Betty Crocker, according to the corporation, is actually a combination of 75 real-life women of diverse backgrounds and ages. These portraits were always painted, with no real person ever having posed as a model, and they never showed the character from the shoulders down.
Minneapolis , nicknamed "City of Lakes" and the "Mill City," is the county seat of Hennepin County, the largest city in the U.S. state of Minnesota, and the 48th largest in the United States...
suburb of Golden Valley, Minnesota
As of the census of 2000, there were 20,281 people, 8,449 households, and 5,508 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,982.3 people per square mile . There were 8,589 housing units at an average density of 839.5 per square mile...
(where General Mills is headquartered) has a street named after her: Betty Crocker Drive.
In 2005, the 10th edition of the Betty Crocker cookbook was published, as well as a Spanish
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...
bilingual book that collects some of the more common recipes for Spanish-speaking readers looking to cook American-style food. There are also a number of Betty Crocker-branded products, such as hand mixers, which support General Mills product line of foodstuffs.
In 2006, it was announced that the Betty Crocker Catalog was going 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; BettyCrockerStore.com will be part of the BettyCrocker.com web site in conjunction with Cooking.com.
- Betty Crocker Cookbook
The Betty Crocker Cookbook is a general kitchen reference sponsored and written by staff at General Mills, the holders of the Betty Crocker trademark...
- Betty Crocker baking mixes
- Betty Crocker canned frosting
- Bowl Appetit shelf-stable entrees
- Betty Crocker Soda Licious (discontinued)
- Cake and dessert decorating products
- Hamburger Helper
Hamburger Helper is a line of packaged food products primarily consisting of boxed pasta bundled with a packet or packets of powdered sauce/seasonings. The contents of each box are combined with browned ground beef, water and milk to create a complete dish. The product line also features products...
and related products
- Potato Buds instant mashed potatoes
- Suddenly Salad mixes
- 'Shake and make' pancake mix
- Warm Delights microwavable desserts
In popular culture
Betty Crocker is a supporting character in the webcomic Homestuck
MS Paint Adventures is a collection of webcomics written and illustrated by Andrew Hussie. Because of the frequency with which the site is updated, MS Paint Adventures is estimated to be the longest web comic on the Internet with over 6000 pages total among its four series.These comics are written...
, where she married a fictionalized version of Mark Twain
Samuel Langhorne Clemens , better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist...
in the early 20th century. It is strongly implied that she's a malevolent, nigh-immortal alien from another universe, and is using her business empire to bring about the ruin of this one.
- 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" cookbook.)
- 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.)