A revolutionary discovery
It was late in the evening in 1930. The dining car was closed on the train to San Francisco and hard-working General Mills salesman Carl Smith was hungry.
He asked the train’s chef if he might make something quickly, nothing fancy and not too much trouble. What was on Smith’s plate became the inspiration for a product that is still deliciously convenient more than 80 years later.
The train’s chef served Smith a plate full of piping hot biscuits. When Carl asked how the chef produced them so quickly, the chef revealed his secret – a pre-mixed blend of lard, baking powder, flour and salt that he stored in an ice chest. From that batter, the chef could whip up delectable, homemade biscuits in a matter of minutes.
Smith recognized the potential of a mixed baking product. Remember, it was the 1930s and cake, muffin and biscuit mixes didn’t yet exist!
When he returned to General Mills, Smith took the idea to a food scientist who had to work through the challenges to get to a shelf-stable product that produced baked goods as good as (or better than) homemade.
The messaging worked and carried the product cleverly through the years. In 1969, Team Bisquick even won first place in the first annual Effie Awards to honor their marketing efforts.
It didn’t take long for America’s home cooks and bakers to find new and creative uses for Bisquick mix beyond biscuits and pancakes.
Cakes, cookies, breads, “Impossible” brunch and dinner bakes and even churros populated dedicated Bisquick cookbooks in the 1960s through the 1980s.
In 1981, the World’s Largest Peach Shortcake was created at the South Carolina Peach Festival. It was five layers and measured 25 1/2 feet in diameter. More than four tons of Bisquick and nine tons of peaches were used. That’s A LOT of Bisquick!