When I was in second or third grade, I was given an old copy of the Betty Crocker’s NEW Boys and Girls Cookbook. My “new” cookbook was published in 1965 and had a heavily-used appearance it had acquired during its years of residence on LeForge Road, where it belonged to my mom and her brothers and sisters.
I had not thought of this cookbook in years, but during last weekend’s antique shop excursion, we came across a Better Homes and Garden’s cookbook. We flipped through it, laughing at the cartoony illustrations and HORRENDOUS recipes (a recipe for macaroni and cheese called for ‘preparing a box of macaroni and cheese product’ and a can of Vienna sausages). This jogged my memory of the Betty Crocker cookbook. My mom and I remembered it being somewhat superior to the Better Homes and Gardens offering (mom adding that the Betty Crocker book “at least had a few real recipes”). Alas, dad had long ago purged the house of this cookbook, and it was not to be found on the shelves of Salt City.
Fear not, however – this (in my opinion) is exactly why the internet was invented!
An Amazon.com search turned up a facsimile of the 1957 version (apparently it was reprinted a few years ago to try and capitalize on the retro craze)…but I wanted the real thing. So I turned to Etsy, my source for vintage dresses, handmade hairpieces, and other paraphernalia. I found the book on my first try…for $20. Not quite the price I had in mind. So I kept searching and was eventually able to turn it up for five bucks.
It arrived in the mail last night and it is EXACTLY how I remember it. Full-color photos, slightly creepy illustrations, and lots of pink, orange, and grass-green ink. I was – I am – completely delighted!
And while the recipes are definitely not “gourmet” (and some of them are a bit disgusting) they at least, for the most part, call for “real” ingredients (although I do cringe at the sandwich recipe calling for the “process American cheese”). I’m seeing a retro-themed dinner party in the future…