Duncan Hines: The Man Behind the Cake Mix

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Mercer University Press, 2001 - Biography & Autobiography - 325 pages
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While the name Duncan Hines is presently associated with cake mix, from the Depression to the mid-1950s, the name was most commonly associated with a series of guidebooks pointing travelers to the best restaurants, hotels/motels, and vacation destinations. These books were overwhelmingly popular, outpacing even the venerable Michelin Guide. Prior to Hines, finding good food or safe lodging was a hit-or-miss proposition: restaurants were often unsanitary and the food of poor quality. Hines was trusted by his readers because of his adamant refusal to accept advertising or payment of any kind from the establishments he recommended. Hines developed and nurtured a reputation for unimpeachable fairness and exactingly high standards of quality and cleanliness. Because of the popularity of his guidebooks and on the strength of his reputation, he almost single-handedly transformed the expectations of the restaurant-going public and thus indirectly transformed the hospitality industry in the United States.

In the 1950s, in partnership with North Carolinian Roy Park, Duncan Hines sold the rights to his name to be used on a line of grocery items, including coffee, ice cream, canned vegetables, and of course, cake mix. These products sold extremely well at premium prices, because shoppers associated Hines' name with quality and cleanliness. Not without reason: just as Hines had exacting standards for restaurants and hotels, he had very high standards for any food product bearing his name.

  

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Contents

Bowling Green
xxiv
Out West
10
Florence
19
Chicago
25
Leave Me Alone or Ill Publish a Book
40
The Dinner Detectives
48
Florence Hiness Last Year
56
Those Who Make Us Wish for Hollow Legs
75
Enter Roy Park
163
The World of Duncan Hines
182
The Office Life
189
Passing the Torch
206
Duncan Hines Goes to Europe
219
We Dedicate This Box
233
Aftermath
244
Notes
251

A Few Pet Peeves
106
The War Years
124
Clara
136
Lets Watch Him Eat
148
Bibliography
282
Index
301
Copyright

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About the author (2001)

Louis B. Hatchett, Jr. is an independent scholar and writer from Henderson, Kentucky.

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