Before his baking company made him a household name, Duncan Hines was America's original food critic.

Hines, who drove across the country as a traveling salesman, published his first series of restaurant reviews in 1935. In those days, before the Interstate highways were built, there weren't many national or regional chains.

Adventures in Good Eating was an instant hit and became the first in a series of seven books that provided restaurant and hotel reviews for travelers.

In the first edition, Hines recalled his favorite meal, which was served at Harry Hynds' Capitol Grille Restaurant in Cheyenne.

"The best meal I ever ate was an order of ham and eggs in a frontier cafe where the click of the roulette wheel in the back mingled with the clatter of dishes at the front counter. That was in Cheyenne, Wyoming, about 1899, and no gustatory experience that I have had since that time has dislodged that platter of ham and eggs from its secure position as my best-remembered dinner."

It's a memory that Hines would fondly recall for the rest of his life. In fact, he was known to eat ham and eggs every day.

In the early '50s, Hines partnered with a New York bakery to create "Duncan Hines Bread". A few years later, he licensed the naming rights of a cake mix to Nebraksa Consolidated Mills, now known as Conagra Brands.

The rights were then transferred to Proctor & Gamble, who helped make the name Duncan Hines synonymous with household baking products. The company is now owned by Pinnacle Foods.

Hines died in 1959, at the age of 78. During his final days, he still insisted that the best meal he ever had was right here in Cheyenne.



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