On our vacation, we had the good fortune to be able to spend a couple of days visiting friends who run a B&B. Barb gave me this fabulous treat, a very old copy of the Betty Crocker cookbook. In the … ten? years that we’ve known them, I have always commented on this book which Barb had perched on top of a cupboard in her kitchen. My mom had the same cookbook, but it was a bound copy, not the ringed binder. (Mom, do you still have it?)
A little digging online and I found out this was a 1956 second edition. The “Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook” has been published a total of eight editions. I have the 1978 edition in my cupboard, although it’s held together with duct tape. I also have the newer version “The Big Red Cookbook” but I find it quite lacking in many ways.
The 1956 version is filled with not only practical knowledge and recipes, it has helpful tips:
This book was published in a time where the “little woman” stayed home and kept house, did the cooking and cleaning, raised the children, and the man was the breadwinner. Ah, the good old days. I sure enjoyed my time as a homemaker in the 21st century, but I must admit I didn’t realize I was missing out on so many of these awesome hints and tips. Let’s look closer:
I’ve been working 9- and 10-hour days this week. I decided to give ol’ Betty’s tip a try. So I laid down on a patch of living room floor that didn’t have much dog fur or kibble and cookie crumbs. I threw my arms over my head, aligned my aching spine and closed my eyes. Immediately there was a flurry of activity. Apollo and Ava came over and were quite concerned. “OMG – she’s not dead, is she?!” “Who will give me cookies?” “Poke her with your nose and see if she’s still breathing.” Ava stepped over me and went and stood in front of the Cupboard o’ Plenty. “How will I get this door open without opposable thumbs?! – Damn it, we need her ALIVE!” While all this fannying about was going on, I didn’t get a chance to relax. So I got up again, gave them each a cookie and went back to work.
On another page, there are meal planning and serving tips:
(In my mind, I can envision the women of Mad Men flipping through these pages.)
So let’s put our cigarette down, have a sip of our highball and take a closer look:
I literally snorted with laughter over this one. “Food prepared with a light heart and in a happy frame of mind is always good food.” Realllly? Oh, no wonder the big fella commented that the supper I made a while ago was a little heavy on the bitterness and had a touch too much impatience. And the dessert of grumpiness and misanthropy was a little tough to swallow. Heh.
But! Betty has gone from that to … a Facebook page! I understand that we as a society have changed and that it’s rare to find someone who is a homemaker – either male or female – that cooks everything from scratch and keeps a pristine home. Betty has moved with the times and now offers quick meal recipes and tips and incorporates prepared food products in the recipes. I guess that’s better than just getting drive-through fast food.
I do regret that I don’t have time to do it all. As much as I’ve mocked Betty, I do love being a stay at home wife and cooking and baking and keeping our house clean. We’ve farmed out the cleaning to our girls who come every Saturday morning, but I can’t seem to justify hiring a personal chef. But for the next year at least, Betty will have to stay in the cupboard for the most part. By the time I’m done my work for the day, I’m beat. We haven’t been eating big meals many nights, just quick and easy foods – sandwiches, hot cereal, pancakes, omelettes. All good and yummy, but not too involved.
I’ll have to flip through the book from time to time and make a recipe or two …
Oh – I forgot to say — I have been knitting a bit in the evenings, but it’s something that I can’t show here. Maybe after Dec 25th.