Betty Crocker


While browsing through The Book of Greek & Roman Folktales, Legends & Myths, edited, translated and introduced by William Hansen. I found a name staring up at me that you would not expect to see staring up at you from a book on Greek myths, Betty Crocker.

There is story in the book about how the wealthy citizens of Kroton commissioned Zeuxis to create a number of paintings for the temple of Hera. Zeuxis wanted to create a painting of Helen of Troy, famous for her beauty:


So he asked for the people to send him their most beautiful women and he selected five of them to be his model for the painting selecting their best features to form a collage of Helen. A similar story lies behind the image of the cook and food expert Betty Crocker, an artist created a face for Betty Crocker in 1939 by blending features of the women in General Mill’s Home Service Department into a single portrait.

The image has been updated many times since, her 1996 update was a computerised composite of 75 women who met the characteristics of the ideal Betty Crocker. It is interesting to see how the images act as a barometer of change too, with Betty becoming younger and more professional looking. The more recent image has acquired a slightly ethnic look: