Monday, July 6, 2020

Who Besides Betty Crocker is Fake and Who is Real?

Pancakes, Breakfast, Food, Syrup This past Friday, I took time to introduce you to Betty Crocker who has secured a place in society but isn't real.  There are other things we eat with a person associated with them but some are real and some are fake.  Some of the faces are a reflection of the times in which they were conceived while others are based on a logo.

1. Sara Lee who is associated with baked goods and cheesecake.  You often find her goods in the refrigerated section of the grocery store.  Sara Lee is a real person but she didn't start this particular line of food.  Back in the early 20th century, Charles Lubin owned a several bakeries in the Chicago area which featured a wonderful cheesecake he named after his daughter, Sara Lee.  Later on, he renamed the business, the kitchens of Sara Lee, after her.  Eventually he sold out to Consolidated Foods who changed their name to the Sara Lee corporation because the brand did so well and was a huge money maker. The odd thing is that Sara Lee did not take over the baking business, she pursued other interests.

2.  Captain Morgan as in Captain Morgan's rum is a real person.  His real name was Sir Henry Morgan and he sailed the seas in the 17th century, working as a privateer.  The Welshman protected British interested as he sailed through the Caribbean while plundering Spanish ships.  He ended up in prison because he continued harassing Spanish ships after the two countries signed a peace treaty. Eventually, he became the Lieutenant - Governor of Jamaica.  So yes he was a real person but he didn't start the brand.

3. Chef Boyardee with it's spaghetti o's is quite famous but is the chef a real person?  Yes and he actually started this particular product line.  Ettore Bioardi, an Italian immigrant worked as a chef in several hotels across West Virginia and New York but eventually he quit and decided to start his own restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio. He made extra money by selling bottles of his spaghetti sauce.  He ended starting a factory in Pennsylvania to produce a line of his products he named Chef Boy-ar-dee so people would know how to pronounce his name.

4. Dr. Pepper is said to be fictional.  The drink was developed by a pharmacist in Waco, Texas in 1885 while working for a corner drug store.  His boss is said to have named the drink after an earlier digestive drink called "D's Peppers Pepsin Bitters".  It is also said that the boss named it after a Dr. Pepper he knew but there is not proof either way so it is assumed that Dr. Pepper is a fictional character.

5. Famous Amos with his chocolate chip cookies is a real person.  Amos began as a talent agent who worked for the William Morris Talent Agency.  To get clients, he'd send them some freshly baked cookies and in the 1970's his friends suggested he start his own business selling cookies.  He opened his first store in 1975 and expanded by selling to grocery stores.

6.  Mrs Fields is another cookie business named for it's creator.  She and her husband opened their first store in 1977 and began franchising in 1990.  Eventually she sold the company but remained the spokes person for the chain.

7. Jimmy Dean who is known for his breakfast sausages and other foods was a real person.  He was a country singer, actor, and personality before he got together with his brother to start the business in 1969.  Eventually they sold the company but Jimmy remained on as the company spokesman until they phased him out.

8. Marie Callender is a real person who began a home based baking back in the 1940's in Orange County, California.  She and her husband baked pies her son sold to area restaurants but in 1964, her son, Don, convinced her to open a shop to sell coffee and pies and named it after her.  As time passed, the chain began selling other foods while expanding to at least 146 shops.  In 1986, the chain was sold and the company opened up a line of foods found in the frozen food department.

9.  Oscar Mayer, the purveyor of hot dogs and luncheon meats and who has the traveling hot dog is based on a real person.  Oscar is one of three brothers who came from Bavaria in around 1870 and set up a shop in 1883.  On their first day in business, they did $59 worth of business but in those days when pork sold for 8 to 12 cents a pound, that wasn't too bad.  The company was one of the first to join the USDA's meat inspection program in 1902.  Just after World War I, they purchased a small meat packing plant in Madison, Wisconsin and about 10 years later, they created the yellow label to indicate high quality.  They are considered one of the first meat companies to come up with a brand.  In 1936, they introduced the weinermobile we all think of and that "I wish I were an Oscar Mayer Weiner" jingle hit the airwaves in 1963.  They are still around today.

10. Uncle Ben's instant rice may be named after a real person who grew rice for the company.  During World War II, Converted Rice supplied their instant rice to the military as part of their meal supplies but as the war ended, they needed to change to selling to civilians so they decided to call it Uncle Ben's after one of their growers.  It's said that  Uncle Ben was an African American rice grower who supplied high quality rice to Converted Rice but he passed away sometime before the 1940's.  The image on the boxes is not of Ben but of a maitre d' who worked at a restaurant the owner and others ate at.

11.  Aunt Jemima is not based on a real person but named after a minstrel song composted by an African American from the 1880's called "Old Aunt Jemima" .  The man who created a pancake mix in 1889 chose to name his product after the song and later sold it to another company who shared it at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.  They hired Nancy Green, a former slave, to sell pancake mix to people as Aunt Jemima.  When she was killed in 1923, they hired another woman for the position.  Just recently, Quaker Oats who owns the brand, announced they will retire Aunt Jemima.

So now you know more about some of the brands who carry the face of someone.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

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