Real People, Useful Ideas: DUNCAN HINES

Sometimes you come across a name that seems made up.  Like Perla Buhay.  To me, that’s sounds like a name straight out of a Filipino poem. Perla, Life.  Pearl of Life, The Life of a Pearl.  Well, hey, that’s me, wouldjabelieve?

Going back to our general topic, which is food names, let’s consider several unusual monikers and what notable contributions these folks are associated with.  VIP #3: Duncan Hines.

His name dominates the baking aisle of most supermarkets, but his start in the food business parallels that of Michelin Tires: he was into restaurant ratings.  As a travelling salesman during the 20s and 30s, Hines had plenty of good – and bad – meals on the road.  He and Mrs. Hines began compiling a list of good restaurants to share with friends.  That list developed into a popular book, which led to a successful column-writing assignment for newspapers across the United States.  Hines supplemented his restaurant evaluations with recipes modified for home cooking.

In 1952, his name recognition attracted the attention of Durkee Bakery Co. of New York; an agreement was drawn to brand one of their products Duncan Hines bread.  An endorsement!

The following year, Hines sold the right for the use of his name by several food firms.  Eventually, consumers began to enjoy making home-baked goods using Duncan Hines baking mixes, sold by Nebraska Consolidated Mills of Omaha.  The line of products has expanded through the years; its current owner is the consumer products division of Procter and Gamble.


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