Love, From Betty Crocker

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I always believed in Betty Crocker– well, I wanted to believe that the first lady of food was real. Similar to finding out that Nancy Drew’s author Carolyn Keene wasn’t real, one day Betty Crocker was no longer real either. I realized that dear old Betty was just a brand name and trademark developed by the Washburn Crosby Company.

The story goes that they chose Betty as her name because it sounded as American as the Apple Pie she would show us all how to make. The original Betty Crocker New Picture Cookbook was first published in 1951 and everyone knows someone that has a Betty Crocker Cookbook in their home. Betty, like Margie Blake from the Carnation Company, was important to me as my mother died young, and food somehow replaced parental figures. Well, that’s what a few years of therapy taught me.

The recipes from any Betty Crocker Cookbook are from leaner times, and in the 50’s my mother used to make Tuna Pinwheels and Canned Devilled Ham Canape’s for her canasta parties. Bernice Ethylene Crittenden Knight was a stickler for an attractive food presentation, and she also made something called Congealed Salad for holiday meals. A combination of Orange Jello, Cool Whip, crushed pineapple, and wait for it, shredded cheese. I think my Dad called it “Sawdust Salad” and I seriously tried to remain clueless as to why. I’m sure everyone has a family member that says they’ll bring a “salad” to a family dinner, but then they bring some Jello concoction. Bonus points if it has marshmallows.  Actually I feel more justified in calling anything a salad if I dump leftover taco beef and salsa onto a little lettuce topped with shredded cheese.

Everyone baked bread, but I guess not all people like Betty’s Fruit Loaf recipes because on page 78 of my vintage Betty Crocker cookbook the former owner of the book hand wrote:

“Terrible, even Nookie the dog turned it down.”

The steamed brown bread baked in a can was another baking tragedy. It was so horrible my Dad took my Grandmother’s failed recipe target shooting at the Cowansville dump. I would like to think that some of those rats got to feast on one of those brown breads. Of course, maybe after sampling it, they might have wanted to be put out of their misery.

I also used to love Betty Crocker’s 7 minute-frosting that my mother would put it on some of her 1950s nuclear coloured cake. Then there were the Floating Islands, homemade Rice Pudding, chilled with whipped cream and cinnamon on top. My grandmother’s specialty was steamed English Pudding, and when she was done, she would soak lumps of sugar with orange extract and then place them decoratively around the pudding. One by one each lump would be lighted with a match which would result in a near miss family dinner explosion each time.

Nostalgic triggers a story about our lives, helping us reflect on traditions and moments about the days when our  parents and grandparents were alive. That’s why we should never lose print recipes, and real paper-based cookbooks. Those mystery meat recipes, books, and foods that were the same colour as radiation will always resonate with us because we get to see and relive the gravy stained favourites, and the personal notes in the margins. If reading about Betty Crocker has you craving a big slice of cake, you’re not alone. Time to bake!

 

 

relatedreading

Vintage Culinary Blogging –Fun to Cook Book

“Get it On” — Banging Cookies Recipe–This Will Feel Wrong, but Trust Me!

The Invincible Ginger Snap Cookies of Carleton Place

Memories of Woolworths and Chicken in a Van

Slow Cooker Boston Baked Beans–Lanark County Recipes

Easy Christmas Cake- Lanark County Recipes

Holiday Popcorn– Lanark County Recipes

Granny’s Maple Fudge —Lanark County Recipes

Albert Street Canasta Club Chilled Pineapple Dessert

Recipes from Lanark County–Glazed Cranberry Lemon Loaf

Gum Drop Cake — Lanark County Holiday Recipe

Gluten Free–

Who Stole the Cookies from the Cookie Jar? Pastry Chef Ben White

“Sex in the Pan” Memories – A RIP Fashion Violation Photo Essay

Katherine Hepburn Did Eat Brownies

I Want Them to Bite into a Cookie and Think of Me and Smile

About lindaseccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina was born in Cowansville, Quebec about the same time as the wheel was invented and the first time she realized she could tell a tale was when she got caught passing her smutty stories around in Grade 7 at CHS by Mrs. Blinn. When Derek "Wheels" Wheeler from Degrassi Jr. High died in 2010, Linda wrote her own obituary. Some people said she should think about a career in writing obituaries. Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa from 1976-1996. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off she finally found her calling. Is it sex drugs and rock n' roll you might ask? No, it is history. Seeing that her very first boyfriend in Grade 5 (who she won a Twist contest with in the 60s) is the head of the Brome Misissiquoi Historical Society and also specializes in local history back in Quebec, she finds that quite funny. She writes every single day and is also a columnist for Hometown News and Screamin's Mamas. She is a volunteer for the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, an admin for the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page, and a local guest speaker. She has been now labelled an historian by the locals which in her mind is wrong. You see she will never be like the iconic local Lanark County historian Howard Morton Brown, nor like famed local writer Mary Cook. She proudly calls herself The National Enquirer Historical writer of Lanark County, and that she can live with. Linda has been called the most stubborn woman in Lanark County, and has requested her ashes to be distributed in any Casino parking lot as close to any Wheel of Fortune machine as you can get. But since she wrote her obituary, most people assume she's already dead. Linda has published six books, "Menopausal Woman From the Corn," "Cowansville High Misremembered," "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities," "Cancer Calls Collect," "The Tilted Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place," and "Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac." All are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Linda's books are for sale on Amazon or at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada--Appleton Museum-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.

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