Kentucky Humanities Council speaker to talk about Duncan Hines
by Hawkins Teague
Mar 14, 2007 | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
On March 21 at Lake Barkley State Resort Park, the Trigg/Lyon County Newcomers Club will host Jonathan Jeffrey, who will be speaking on the famous Kentuckian Duncan Hines.

“(Hines) is significant not just in the culinary arts, but in American history,” said Jeffrey, who is a speaker for the Kentucky Humanities Council and works at Western Kentucky University’s Kentucky Museum. Newcomers First Vice President Mary Alyce Elm said the event is open to the public.

Although most people associate the Bowling Green native with the cake mix that bears his name, there is a lot more to his story, Jeffrey said. Hines was a traveling salesman who sold printing products and had settled down in Chicago. He loved trying restaurants wherever he went and took notes on all of them. In 1936, he sent out Christmas cards to friends that listed more than 100 restaurants in 12 states that he thought were the best places to eat, Jeffrey said.

It wasn’t long before he was “deluged with requests” for the list, Jeffrey said. It made Hines realize he had the makings of a marketable book, so he wrote and published his “Adventures in Good Eating for the Discriminating Motorist.” Within three years, the book was making handsome profits. Eventually there were more than 50 editions of the book and several successful spin-offs, which included cook books and travel guides.

In 1939, Hines retired from his sales job. After his first wife died, his sister convinced him to move back to Bowling Green, where he published and printed his books. His wealth grew in part because he was acting as his own distributor, which added to his profits. While all this was happening, food companies constantly approached Hines to endorse their products, but he was very discriminating (as the title of his first book suggests) and turned them down.

For the rest of this story, read this week's Cadiz Record.
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