MY KENTUCKY: Duncan Hines recommends Col. Sanders’ Cafe

By Sam Terry
Managing Editor
Jobe Publishing, Inc.

BOWLING GREEN native Duncan Hines’ first restaurant guide, Adventures in Good Eating.

Bowling Green native Duncan Hines published a new edition of his guidebook, Adventures in Good Eating, on March 11, 1939. As a salesman traveling across America in the 1930s, Hines began keeping notes on good places to eat along the country’s highways.

Initially, Hines and his first wife, Florence, compiled a list of 167 recommended eating establishments as a Christmas present for their friends. From that came Hines’ self-published Adventures In Good Eating which became the go-to guide to good food; he subsequently added a guide to America’s best motels.

In the 1939 edition of Hines’ guide, he reviewed the Sanders Court & Cafe, owned and operated by Col. Harland Sanders, in Corbin. The food critic extraordinaire wrote, “A very good place to stop en route to Cumberland Falls and the Great Smokies. Continuous 24-hour service. Sizzling steaks, fried chicken, country ham, hot biscuits. L. 50¢ to $1; D., 60¢ to $1.” That same year, Sanders began using a pressure cooker to prepare fried chicken for his patrons.

A POSTCARD depiction of Sanders Court & Café, the birthplace of Harland Sander’s famous fried chicken.

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Hines wrote a thrice-weekly nationally syndicated newspaper column, “Adventures in Good Eating at Home,” in which he featured restaurant recipes collected on his travels and adapted for home cooks. His credibility led to the highly-sought after “Recommended by Duncan Hines” seal of approval on eateries and food products.

HARLAND SANDERS in the kitchen of the Sanders Court & Café where he perfected his now-famous secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices used in preparing his fried chicken. Photo courtesy of KFC.

When Hines and Roy Park formed their partnership known as Hines-Park Foods, Inc., they sought to bring high-quality foods to America’s homes and together they produced more than 250 canned, bottled, and boxed products featuring the Duncan Hines label. In 1956, Procter & Gamble purchased the brand name Duncan Hines from Hines-Park Foods, Inc.

Duncan Hines home office on Louisville Road in Bowling Green is now occupied by Hardy & Son Funeral Home.

BOWLING GREEN native Duncan Hines.

Sam Terry’s My Kentucky column appears weekly in Jobe Publishing newspapers in celebration of the 225th anniversary of Kentucky’s statehood.  Past columns can be accessed as www.jpinews.com. 

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