Duncan Hines

( 1 )

Overview

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 ...
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Overview

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's 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. Now, in this well written and thoroughly researched biography, Louis Hatchett tells the story of a remarkable businessman who created a culinary empire.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780865547735
  • Publisher: Mercer University Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/2001
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface ix
Introduction 1
Chapter 1 Bowling Green 4
Chapter 2 Out West 18
Chapter 3 Florence 27
Chapter 4 Chicago 33
Chapter 5 Leave Me Alone or I'll Publish a Book! 48
Chapter 6 The Dinner Detectives 56
Chapter 7 Florence Hines's Last Year 64
Chapter 8 Those Who Make Us Wish for Hollow Legs 83
Chapter 9 Back Home Again in Bowling Green 99
Chapter 10 Life Changes 109
Chapter 11 A Few Pet Peeves 122
Chapter 12 The War Years 140
Chapter 13 Clara 152
Chapter 14 Let's Watch Him Eat 164
Chapter 15 Enter Roy Park 179
Chapter 16 The World of Duncan Hines 198
Chapter 17 The Office Life 205
Chapter 18 Passing the Torch 222
Chapter 19 Duncan Hines Goes to Europe 235
Chapter 20 We Dedicate This Box... 249
Chapter 21 Aftermath 260
Notes 267
Bibliography 299
Index 319
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2002

    You'll be surprised

    I am an author as well, and that is significant only because I met Louis Hatchett at a book fair. It is the only reason I became aware of this book. I knew nothing about Duncan Hines, and as author Hatchett writes, like many Americans would not have been surprised to learn he was not a real person, or the name was a combination of two last names (Duncan, Hines.) That in and of itself, of course, would not make a book...what makes this book is how Duncan Hines came to be a household name. He was a publisher first, of a guide to great restaurants throughout the country. This started as a mere hobby, and grew to where he sold millions of books. The road from his life as a salesman to a best selling publisher, to the "father" of the Duncan Hines food line is fascinating, unlikely, surprising...and amazing in that the journey didn't even start until he was in his 50's!!! The author obviously did a lot of research, and that can be a problem...the smallest details of his work may ultimately fascinate him, but bore the more casual reader. By the author's own admission in his introduction, he may well have succumbed to that temptation, but was "talked out of it" by a number of proofreaders, one of whom called his first manuscript "boring". To his credit, he listened and now the book reads very well, I think, and is a very entertaining look at one of the most unlikely of lives...Duncan Hines. I really enjoyed this book.

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