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:

troy

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:

Croker

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