Who Was The Real Betty Crocker?

By | September 25, 2019

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Who was Betty Crocker? Source: (breatbigstories.com)

Today, we know her as the premier purveyor of boxed cake mixes, but a generation or two ago, Betty Crocker was the go-to expert for all things baking. It may surprise you to know that one of our longest-lasting and most revered advertising icons once had a lot to say as the host of enormously popular radio programs, newspaper columns, and TV shows---however, she was just as fictional then as she is now. Let's look at the creation of Betty Crocker, the writers, and actresses who portrayed her, and her lasting legacy.

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In the test kitchen. Source: (bettycrocker.com)

Betty Crocker, a Nom de Plume

Betty Crocker was born at the Washburn-Crosby Company, a flour mill in the 1800s that eventually became the Gold Medal Flour company that you see in grocery stores today. Often, bakers and housewives wrote letters to the Washburn-Crosby Company to ask questions about their products or seek advice on baking matters. The letters were directed to the marketing department, headed by Samuel Gale and his team of all-male employees. Gender roles being what they were at the turn of the 20th century, the men of the department could not answer many of the questions they received, so they had to consult their wives or other women. Gale felt uncomfortable signing his name to the letters he sent back to customers, claiming that women would rather take baking advice from another woman than from a man, so Gale and his team created a fictional woman---chief of correspondence Betty Crocker---and began signing her name to their letters.