November 26, 2007

Bisquick 101

The first promotional cookbook for Bisquick baking mix was Betty Crocker's 101 Delicious Bisquick Creations (1933, 32 pp.). It was published two years after Bisquick was first introduced to consumers.

Betty Crocker, in her Foreword, tells of the overwhelming response to the product and how users, from all walks of life, sent in suggestions of other ways, besides biscuits, to use the mix in their cooking.

"These came from social leaders of Park Avenue and debutantes of Bar Harbor, from financial wizards cruising in their own yachts, from business men, and Boy and Girl Scouts who discovered Bisquick for camping trips. They came from world noted chefs and food specialists, from artists of the stage and screen, and the literary world. Fascinating new ways of using Bisquick were sent to us by famous hostesses from the North to the Old South, and by busy mothers everywhere."
The majority of the recipes in the booklet are presented as those sent in by these contributors, both well-known and not. I guess it was hoped that consumers would be suitably impressed by the celebrities and the well-to-do using Bisquick. Given the large public preoccupation with the activities of these same type folks today, it must have been a successful marketing strategy.

There are several vignettes, complete with black and white portraits, of the famous people and their recipe suggestions. The recipes sent in by regular people are just acknowledged with their names and locations.

Somehow I can't quite picture Gloria Swanson or Mary Pickford taking the time to sit down to pen a letter of praise to General Mills. The same goes for Princess Rostislav and Countess de Forceville. Didn't they have better things to do?

What about Philip Roemer, the chef responsible for creating Green Goddess salad dressing? Was he really using Bisquick in the kitchen of the famed San Francisco Palace Hotel?


One of the famous dishes from the hand of a master chef, which has made the Palace Hotel famous among lovers of good food.

Cut up chicken as for stew; cook until chicken is tender; make gravy of the stock. Remove some of the larger bones, and put chicken in a large baking dish. Pour on gravy and let it cool. Make Bisquick or Shortcake Dough. Cut ito small Bisquicks and place on top of chicken, or roll to fit baking dish. Sit to allow steam to escape. Bake 20 minutes in a hot oven, 450°F.

One of the selling points of this new biscuit mix was that they could be mixed up and ready to go into the oven in ninety seconds. General Mills gave this modern biscuit successor a name--Bisquicks.
"Bisquicks...the modern name for baking powder biscuits. The modern EASIER, QUICKER, SURER way of making those glorious, light, tender, fluffy biscuits so delicious with any smart for any party occasion."


At 6:02 PM CST, Blogger T.W. Barritt said...

I actually find it comforting that Gloria Swanson might have used Bisquick. Somehow, it makes a big star feel more accessible!

At 9:35 PM CST, Blogger Kathy said...

Well, T.W., maybe she really did! ;-)


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