An Old Classic: Betty Crocker

Do you have a go-to cookbook? That one where some of the pages are stuck together and there are food splatters on the best pages?!

Betty Crocker's 40th Edition Cook Book

For years ours has been Betty Crocker’s 40th Anniversary Edition Cookbook. This was the cookbook that Jason contributed to our married life. When we met and started dating, Jason would make something and when I would ask where he got the recipe, most of the time the answer was “Betty Crocker!”

Betty Crocker's 40th Edition Cook Book

Over the years, I have turned to this same cookbook again and again. Some of our favorite recipes have come from this book, such as our pizza crust, pies, waffles, zucchini spice cake, chili, and the list goes on.

Recently, I was thinking about old cookbooks, and on a whim found and purchased a reprint of Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book originally published in 1950.

Betty Crocker's Picture Cookbook from 1950

I thought it would be fun to see what recipes would be in this classic. I also thought it would probably include more recipes that used fewer shortcut ingredients. More “from scratch” recipes.

Betty Crocker sample cocktails page.

When the cookbook arrived, I was excited to start diving into it and compare it to our edition of Betty Crocker. Since this cookbook is from the 1950s, I knew there would be some things that just wouldn’t translate to today’s time. One of my favorites was on one of the cocktail pages:

The clever wife has a simple appetizing cocktail…ready for her weary husband when he comes home at night.

Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book

Ha! I told Jason I must not be a clever wife, since I don’t think I’ve ever had a cocktail waiting for him. Though when he looked at what the suggestions for the cocktails were (Tomato-Sauerkraut Juice anyone?!?), he was glad that I did not have any of these drinks waiting for him!

Betty Crocker sample cake recipe page.

But aside from some of these quirky little tidbits, I liked quite a few of the features of this cookbook. One of the first things I noticed was in the cakes section. Most of the pages have a “key” cake recipe that you can make in either a large or small size. Following each cake recipe are variations of the key recipe. I have not tried any of these recipes yet, but I love the idea of a basic along with variations to suit the occasion!

Betty Crocker sample chicken recipe page.

The same is true for many of the main course recipes. “Creamed Chicken” is one of the key recipes, followed by variations using the key recipe as a starting point. I recently tried the recipe for “Creamed Chicken” which is essentially cooked chicken in a white sauce. I added a bag of mixed frozen vegetables and served it with puff pastry shells. The result was very similar to a chicken pot pie. Quite tasty!

Betty Crocker sample pie recipe page.

The one section that I am particularly excited about is the pie section. I have made many pies, but have never felt like I’ve really mastered finishing the crust edges. I loved the pictures and tips for how to prepare the pastry. I will have try some of these tips the next time I make a pie!

All in all, I would say this has been a fun cookbook to read. Yes, I like to read cookbooks! But there are also lots of recipes that our edition of Betty Crocker does not have that I will be trying out over the next weeks and months!

Bunches of rainbow swiss chard

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