Hines - Famous traveling restaurant critic known for his food guide
Adventures in Good Eating: a Guidebook to the Best Restaurants along America's
Highways. When Mr. Hines rated a restaurant as top notch, he presented a
sign that read: "Recommended by Duncan Hines." In 1935, Duncan, a direct mail
firm salesman in Chicago and his wife, Florence, compiled a list of
167 recommended restaurants from 30 states and Washington, D.C. which they
presented as Christmas gifts. Hines included the message: "I am passing this
information on to you, hoping that it may yield enjoyment and delectation,
should you find yourself in the vicinity of one of these 'harbors of
refreshment' as you travel hither and yon."
The response to the list of was overwhelming and in 1936 Hines published his now classic food guide followed by
a 1939 book of recipes called Adventures in Good Cooking. With the publication
of Hines' books travelers now had a reliable source to find good food or safe
lodging. It outsold the Michelin Guide, a similar publication of the times.
Hines also earned the trust of the American public by refusing to accept
advertising or payment of any kind from the establishments he recommended. After
the death of his wife, Florence in 1939, Duncan Hines returned to Bowling Green
and built his home and office devoted to his burgeoning travel business.
That same year Hines listed Sander's Cafe, a lunchroom behind a gas station in
Corbin, Kentucky as a great place for food especially its southern fried
chicken. This little roadside eatery was the inspiration for the Kentucky Fried
Chicken restaurant chain.
In addition to his hospitality books, Hines was
featured on Mutual Radio Network on a daily basis, and weekly, his newspaper
column appeared in a hundred newspapers with a combined circulation of 20
In 1948, Duncan Hines lent his name to a new line of cake mixes and
other quality products in association with North Carolinian Roy H. Park, a
publisher and advertising executive. The products were sold as Hines-Park Foods,
Inc. in Ithaca, New York and manufactured by Nebraska Consolidated Mills of
Omaha. The name brand soon became a national best selling product. The first
product to use the Duncan Hines seal of approval was a vanilla ice cream
introduced in May 1950. Procter & Gamble later purchased the Duncan Hines
product line in 1956. Aurora Foods Inc. acquired Duncan Hines brand in 1997.
Duncan Hines was born in Bowling Green, Kentucky on March 26, 1880. By 1947
Duncan Hines was better known than fellow Kentuckian, Alben Barkley, the then
Vice President of the United States.
At the time of his death on Sunday, March 15, 1959 from lung cancer, Hines, an alumnus of Bowling Green Business
University and food crusader who transformed the American restaurant and
packaged food industries, had sold over five million copies of his book
Adventures in Good Eating. His funeral services were held at the Christ
Hines' other published works included Lodging for a Night
(1938), The Art of Carving in the Home (1939), Duncan Hines Vacation Guide
(1948), Duncan Hines' Food Odyssey (1955) and Duncan Hines Dessert Book (1955).
Since 1996, the citizenry of Bowling Green have celebrated Hines' career with
the annual Duncan Hines Festival each August. There is also a Duncan Hines
Scenic Road, an 82-mile rural route that runs through Warren and Edmonson
counties. It begins and ends at the former home of the Duncan Hines and passes
through Smith`s Grove and Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky.
In 2001, Aurora Foods launched its new Duncan Hines logo during New York
City's St. Patrick's Day parade in Times Square. The ads ran 54 times on a video
screen to an audience of millions. As of 2004, the Duncan Hines product line is
owned by Pinnacle Foods Corporation (formerly Aurora Foods).