Before there was Emeril Lagasse, Paula Dean, and Alton Brown, there was Betty Crocker.
Of course, Betty Crocker is one of those famous people whom everyone knows, but never existed. The Washburn Flour Company, a forerunner of General Mills, published a promotion in the Saturday Evening Post- readers who sent in a completed jigsaw puzzle would receive a flour sack pin cushion. There were over 30,000 responses, and hundreds of letters with questions about baking. An on-the-ball advertising director saw an opportunity, and convinced company leaders to invent a fictional character to personally reply to each inquiry. The name Betty was chosen as she seemed friendly and wholesome, and Crocker was chosen to honor a recently retired company director. After using her name in print advertising and letters containing cooking advice, Betty Crocker get her voice on the radio in 1924, first locally in Minneapolis and then nationally on the NBC network. The Betty Crocker School of the Air was the countries first radio cooking show. During the Great Depression she advised cash strapped homemakers how to cook tasty meals on a tightened budget.
In 1945, according to Fortune Magazine, Betty Crocker was the second most famous American woman, after Eleanor Roosevelt. These broadcasts from 1945 are dedicated to "Young, attractive, and gallant" War brides. Not only do they give helpful cooking advice to these young brides, they are also celebrations of their intrepid spirit, which is a reflection of the virtues that their pioneer foremothers showed crossing the plains in wagon trains.
This collection contains two rare episodes of the Betty Crocker cooking program and a short blooper excerpt. For more radio cooking, see the "Betty Crocker of the West": Martha Meade. See also: The Mary Lee Program sponsored by PET milk and Baker's Theater of Stars sponsored by Baker's of America.