Let us remember the giants of American Cuisine.

Betty Crocker

Betty Crocker isn’t actually a real person. She is the brainchild of an advertising campaign developed by the Washburn-Crosby Company, a flour milling company started in the late 1800s that eventually became General Mills.

Who was Betty Crocker?
Colonel Sanders

Ironically, Colonel Harland Sanders cannot stand what his franchisees have done to his recipes. This from a 1970 New Yorker piece when KFC was still just getting started in NYC,

During his travels on company business, he will occasionally pay an unexpected visit to a K.F.C. outlet in order to inspect the kitchen and sample the gravy. If the gravy meets his low expectations, he delivers one of his withering gravy critiques, sometimes emphasizing his points by banging his cane on whatever furniture is handy. Months or even years after these ordeals, franchisees wince at the memory of such a gravy judgment from the Colonel as “How do you serve this God-damned slop? With a straw?”

Duncan Hines

Duncan Hines was, objectively speaking, a big deal: one of the country’s first food celebrities, beloved by millions. “Americans regarded his every word with the highest esteem,” but. . . Duncan Hines sounds like—how to put this?—a domineering, narcissistic jerk.

Duncan Hines was a real guy
Chef Boyardee

Chef Boiardi’s Restaurant in Cleveland was a success, and customers expressed interest in learning how to make Italian dishes at home. So the Boiardis started sending people home with pasta, sauce and cheese and teaching them how to cook, heat and assemble the dishes themselves.

The Man, The Can: Recipes Of The Real Chef Boyardee
Aunt Jemima

Aunt Jemima’s appearance has evolved over time. The brand’s origin and logo is based off the song “Old Aunt Jemima” from a minstrel show performer and reportedly sung by slaves. The company’s website said the logo started in 1890 and was based on Nancy Green, a “storyteller, cook and missionary worker.” However, the website fails to mention Green was born into slavery.

The Aunt Jemima brand, acknowledging its racist past, will be retired
Uncle Ben

Uncle Ben’s was founded as Converted Brand Rice by co-founders Erich Huzenlaub and Gordon Harwell. The name “Uncle Ben’s” began being used in the 1940s after Harwell and his business partner discussed a famed Texas farmer, referred to as Uncle Ben, known for his rice. The image of the Black man on the box was modeled after Frank Brown, a waiter at the Chicago restaurant where Harwell had the idea.

Uncle Ben’s to change brand as part of parent company’s stance against racism

Honorable mention goes to La Choy that introduced Middle America to horrible-tasting frozen Chinese food with their earworm jingle, “La Choy makes Chinese food, swing American!”