Which of these famous kitchen mascots were real and which were pure fiction?
In the western world many food brands are known as much for the icons on the labels as for the product found inside the bottle, box, can or package. And if you are a western consumer you will probably recognize many of the following iconic mascots. Some of you may have been acquainted with these characters all your life, and like me, have grown very fond of them. But do you know which of these mascots were inspired by real human beings and which ones were pure advertising creations? Look at these familiar faces and/or labels and make your guess. You may be surprised just who turns out to be real and who doesn't.
The answers can be found at the bottom of the page. Good luck!
1. Little Miss Sunbeam
Little Miss Sunbeam is still used on the bread label today!
#2. Sara Lee
Sara Lee..her cakes and pies make champions of quick dessert servers.
#3 Mama of Mama RoSa's Pizza
Mama Rosa's frozen pizzas may taste like carboard, but they're inexpensive enough to feed all your husband's friends during the Super Bowl!
#4 Mrs. Paul
Mrs. Paul's fish flillets and a pan of cornbread makes a delicious meal!
#5 Uncle Ben of Uncle Ben's Converted Rice
Uncle Ben - instilling cooking confidence in even the worst chefs, like myself.
#6 Little Debbie
Little Debbie knows what kids like to snack on..and Moms and Dads, too.
#7 Aunt Jemima
If I'm going to make pancakes from an already-made mix Aunt Jemima is my favorite brand to work with. And now she offers whole grain varieties, too.
#8 Mama Michelina
You gotta love Mama's stuff. Easy, inexpensive and delicious.
#9 The Sun-Maid Raisins girl
People say kids recognize Ronald McDonald early, but I knew this lady's face long before I developed a taste for the hamburger king's products.
#10 Mrs. Smith
Mrs. Smith better stay away from my husband. Her pumpkin pie is the strumpet queen of the pre-made pies!
#11 Betty Crocker
Betty Crocker knows her way around the kitchen. And she can get plumb kinky with frosting, too.
#12 Blue Nun
Hers might be the worst drivel on the wine market but it is perfect for those trying to hastily forget what they said in the confessional booth.
#13 the Gorton's Fisherman
He's a manly man doing manly things with manly fish on the Gorton Queen.. or something to that effect.
#14 Mrs. Butterworth
When I was just a wee little girl Mrs. Butterworth was in the first nightmare I ever recall having. She was chasing me down a sidewalk and I was in my little red wagon trying desperately to get away. Not sure what that dream meant, but even today I get a shiver seeing this bottle. But Mrs. Butterworth does make a mean syrup.
#15 The Morton Salt girl
Poor Morton salt girl. She's been having to fight that rain for decades.
#16 The Cream of Wheat chef
My Grandmother always kept a box of Cream of Wheat in the pantry. She was the only one who liked eating it, but it sure did smell good cooking on the stove.
#17 Crack Jack's Sailor Jack and his dog, Bingo
One of my favorite childhood treats. And it was pretty healthy, too.
#18 Chiquita of Chiquita Bananas
Chiquita even had a song way back in the day. I don't recall the lyrics but the melody was cute.
19. Chef Boyardee
My husband hates Chef Boyardee. He says the look of the sauces are almost as disgusting as the smell of the product. I don't know; I still love the ravioli.
20. Martha White
Yankees..er, I mean Northerners.. may not know Martha White. But she's famous in the South for her flour, cornmeal and even packaged muffin and biscuit mixes. And her products come with excellent recipes on the back labels!
Have you made your guesses which mascots were inspired by real folks? Here are the answers:
1. Little Miss Sunbeam – yes. She was none other than Patty Michaels, who went on to establish a singing and acting career for herself in the 1960’s. She also appeared in film and television in the 1970’s
2. Sara Lee –yes. Sara was only 8 years old when her father, Charlie Lubin, a bakery entrepreneur, decided to name his new line of cheesecakes after her.
3. Mama of MaMa Rosa’s frozen pizzas – not real
4. Mrs. Paul – yes. When deviled crab chef Edward Piszek needed money to open a frozen seafood business his good friend, John Paul, contributed $350. Mrs. Paul was John’s mother.
5. Uncle Ben of Uncle Ben’s Converted Rice –yes. Uncle Ben was a rice farmer, known throughout Texas as the most productive rice farmer in the state.
6. Little Debbie – yes, she was named after the real life granddaughter of company founders O.D. and Ruth McKee, who started their treats business way back in the Depression (before the company even had a name). Their small family business kept the family from starving.
7. Aunt Jemima – not real
8. Michelina –yes, she was the real-life Mama of Jeno F. Paulucci, founder of Michelina’s Foods
9. Sun Maid raisin girl – yes. A young woman by the name of Lorraine Collett Petersen was asked to pose by for an original raisin label –holding a basket of raisins. The company founders named their product Sun-Maid for her.
10. Mrs. Smith –yes. She was American homemaker, Amanda Smith
11. Betty Crocker –not real, just fictional.
12. the Blue Nun wine – no. The name and mascot were chosen by the H. Sichel Söhne company as an alternative to hard-to-pronounce brand names and medieval gothic script labels. They hoped this would help make wine more appealing to young twentieth-century wine drinkers. Unfortunately, neither helped recruit fans. But the label is unforgettable.
13. Gorton’s Fisherman –yes. He was Slade Gorton of Glouchester, Massachusetts, and his fishing company was originally called Slade Gorton & Company
14. Mrs. Butterworth –no, she’s fictitious
15. The Morton Salt “When it rains it pours” girl – No, this cute girl was pure imagination.
16. the Cream of Wheat Chef - no, even as the company founders fondly called him Chef Rastus.
17. Sailor Jack and his dog, Bingo of the Cracker Jack popcorn confection – yes. The boy's real name was Robert Rueckheim and he was the grandson of the confection’s co-inventor, Frederick William Rueckheim. Tragically, Robert died at the tender age of eight years, shortly after his image was first used on the confection’s packaging. But grandpa Frederick didn’t forget the child, and when he passed away years later, the the image of “Sailor Jack” was carved into his headstone. The dog “Bingo” was also real; he was named Russell and was a stray adopted by Cracker Jack packager, Henry Eckstein.
18. Chiquita of Chiquita Bananas – no. The lovely but fictional Chiquita girl was first brought to illustration life by Dik Browne, known best for his Hagar the Horrible comic strip.
19. Chef Boyardee –yes, one Henry Boiardi, who, at the age of twenty, immigrated to the U.S. from Italy in 1914.
20. Martha White – yes. She was the daughter of Nashville’s Royal Flour Mill founder, Richard Lindsey, Sr
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