Heard On Radio
Lincoln, Me. (DG)---
When network radio began in 1926, the main focus was the evening hours.
Of course, this was the time the whole family was home. While the evening
was filled with entertainment, the daytime was another matter. With
the exception of a handful of programs, the networks didn't worry too much
with the daytime. That time was filled with programs from the local
stations. As each year passed, there were more network daytime programs
on the air. With the exception of an occasional musical or variety program,
the dominant daytime radio programs of the early years consisted of cooking
and household hints. Of these programs, we're going to look at 4 ladies of
fact and fiction who hosted this type of program. They are Winifred
S. Carter, Mary Ellis Ames, Frances Lee Barton, and of course, the first lady
of cooking, Betty Crocker. What set them apart from the other cooking
show hostesses concerned a second job they all had. These 4 ladies were
also home economics advisors for different companies in magazines.
During the 1920's and 1930's, Winifred Carter was the advisor for
Procter & Gamble. In the magazine ads, she gave advice and
recommendations for products like Chipso,
PandG The White Naphtha Soap,
and the product she was most famous for, Crisco.
Just for the asking, Ms. Carter sent information on how the housewife could
do more with the 3 mentioned products.
During the 1930-1931 radio season, Ms. Carter hosted
COOKING TRAVELOGUE. Although
this program was on the air briefly (I don't have the exact dates when the
program began and ended), it had the rare distinction on airing on all 3 national
networks that were in business at the time. It was on the air on Monday
at 10:45 AM for NBC's Blue Network;
Friday at 11:15 AM for Columbia;
and Saturday at 10:30 AM for NBC's Red Network.
the program, Ms. Carter offered cooking hints that most likely required the
services of Crisco.
(I suppose you could bake a pie with Chipso
but I wouldn't recommend it!).
When the program went off the air, Ms. Carter continued
her advisor role by creating new recipes in
Crisco magazine ads during the early and mid
1930's. She was also featured in a 1935
Crisco contest where she asked the readers
to create a name for a "New Crisco
Pie" creation. The winning entry received
the grand prize of $1000 (which was a lot of money back then).
Frances Lee Barton was the advisor for General
Foods. She was featured in magazine ads for
Calumet Baking Powder
and Swans Down Cake Flour
during the 1930's. Her daytime program was on the air from 1932-1935
on NBC's Red Network. After the program
went off the air, Ms. Barton continued her recommendations and recipes for
different General Foods products in
magazine ads into the 1950's.
Mary Ellis Ames offered her advising services in behalf of the
Pillsbury Flour Mills Company
during the early to mid 1930's. When flour was needed for a recipe (which
was often), Ms. Ames highly recommended Pillsbury's
Best. It was the "Balanced Flour"
that was perfect for cooking and baking.
On the radio, Ms. Ames hosted COOKING CLOSEUPS
on the Columbia Network from 1933-1936.
The program was on the air on various weekday mornings at 11:00 AM.
If that wasn't enough, Ms. Ames also offered recipes on the
Pillsbury's Best commercials on
TODAY'S CHILDREN over
NBC's Blue Network. To obtain the recipes,
the housewives had to send their names and addresses to the
Pillsbury Flour Mills Company.
conclude this article with the most famous expert on cooking, the one and
only Betty Crocker. Her long running radio program was the first and the last of its kind.
It was the first daytime network cooking program--- and the last network cooking
program left on the air 27 years later. Over that span, many great tasting
and inexpensive recipes were offered to the housewives who listened to her.
Of course, these recipes required the services of
Gold Medal Flour and other
General Mills products.
As you already know, times have changed since radio's
golden age ended. The way people prepare meals have changed drastically.
Betty Crocker adjusted with those changes--- and would once again bring the
latest recipes to radio. In 1999, Betty Crocker was heard on radio once
again. Although the recipes and hints are for the modern lifestyle we
have today, the program is basically the same as it was when it aired during
radio's golden age.
Cooking during radio's golden age was an impressive
achievement. Although the housewives knew what they were doing in the
kitchen, they didn't mind taking advantage of the helpful hints and recipes
offered by Winifred Carter, Frances Lee Barton, Mary Ellis Ames, and Betty
Crocker on their radio programs. The results were very satisfying to
every family member's taste buds--- and the
Tums could be saved for another day!