Gastro Obscura's New Favorite Things interview with Susan Marks

An entertaining and informative social history of a culinary iconBetty Crocker is a motherly fictional character used by General Mills to sell Gold Medal Flour, Bisquick, and other American staples. In my mind, she doesn’t seem like much of a globetrotter. So imagine my surprise when I discovered a vintage postcard exhorting people to visit the Betty Crocker Kitchens, where skilled home economists tested recipes in elegant kitchens inspired by New Orleans, Hawai’i, and Japan.

Much like how tourists roll around Silicon Valley hoping to peek inside the campuses where all the tech magic happens, thousands of mid-century American cooks flocked to the General Mills headquarters in Minnesota to see new products and trendy recipes in development. But unlike super-secretive Apple, General Mills encouraged visitors to visit the Betty Crocker Kitchens, even providing a phone number for tour requests.

To better understand why the Betty Crocker Kitchens attracted millions of visitors, I spoke with Susan Marks, a documentary filmmaker and the author of Finding Betty Crocker: The Secret Life of America's First Lady of Food. 

Interview at Atlas Obscura. 

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