Mary Ellis Ames
Mary Ellis Ames
Mary Ellis Ames (born c. 1887; died 27 February 1968 ) was Pillsbury's answer to their competitor's fictional woman, Betty Crocker.
A real woman, Ames was the Director of Pillsbury's Cooking Service.
She worked for Pillsbury from at least 1925 onwards.
In the 1925 "Missouri Farm Women's Cookbook", there was a recipe insert from Ames for her Dutch Apple Pie. Her recipe called for "Pillsbury's Best" Flour, but she noted: "If you don’t happen to have Pillsbury’s Best, go ahead and bake this pie with whatever flour you have in the house. Then, the next time you need flour, get a bag of Pillsbury’s Best. Bake this pie again. We think you'll notice a real difference! If for any reason you’re not satisfied—not glad you changed to Pillsbury’s Best—your money will be refunded, without question. We believe you’ll like the rich flavor, tempting delicacy, and tenderness Pillsbury's Best gives to every food you bake!"
From at least 1925 onwards, the Pillsbury Cookery Club was run in her name. To enroll, you collected and sent in vouchers from Pillsbury's products. In return, you would get recipes or cooking technique tutorials sent to you monthly. You could buy a metal binder to put them in for 10 cents. The Cookery Club promoted the use of Pillsbury's specialty flours such as Pancake Flour, White Corn Meal, and Sno Sheen Cake Flour, as well as of Pillsbury's regular flours.
In 1933, Ames started a cooking programme on Columbia Broadcasting Service (CBS) Radio, called "Cooking Close-Ups", matched by a syndicated cooking column also called "Cooking Closeups." The programme continued until 1936, aired on Wednesday and Friday mornings. She also did the Pillsbury commercials for the Today's Children programme broadcast on NBC's Blue Network.
Publications by Mary Ellis Ames
- 1925. Pillsbury's Household Manual. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Pillsbury Flour Mills Company
- 1933. Balanced Recipes. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Pillsbury Flour Mills Company. (Offered to Pillsbury Customers for $1.25. It was very modern; it came in an aluminum case.)
- 1933. Twenty-One Successful Little Dinners. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Pillsbury Flour Mills Company
- 1934. Good things to Eat. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Pillsbury Flour Mills Company. Alternate pages in Hebrew, includes Sabbath recipes.
- 1936. 15 Delightful New Recipes You Will Want to Try. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Pillsbury Flour Mills Company
1935. Pillsbury's Cooking Club Bulletins. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Pillsbury Flour Mills Company
- 1941. Let's Bake: A Handbook of Baking. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Pillsbury Flour Mills Company
1943. The Three "Rs" of Wartime Baking: "Ration, 'Richment, and Recipes. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Pillsbury Flour Mills Company
- 1950. 1950. 12 New Cake Recipes Made with Pillsbury’s Sno Sheen Cake Flour. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Pillsbury Flour Mills Company
Later, Pillsbury did introduce a fictional woman, Ann Pillsbury. She first appeared around 1943 as the author of 3 pamphlets: Ann Pillsbury's Sugar-Shy Recipes, Ann Pillsbury's Meat Miser Magic, and Ann Pillsbury Wheat Emergency Recipes.
A comic strip ad featuring Mary Ellis Ames that appeared in the Ladies' Home Journal in 1935.
Tipton Tribune. Tipton, Indiana. 2 October 1925. Page 6
Tipton Tribune. Tipton, Indiana. 30 October 1925. Page 2.
 "Mrs. Mary Ellis Ames, 81, Route 3, was dead on arrival Tuesday afternoon at a Billing hospital. The body is at Smith's Funeral Home." -- Billings Gazette. Billings. Montana. 28 February 1968. Page 33.
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