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Duncan HinesDuncan 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 million.

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 Episcopal Church.

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).


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