One of the most-used gifts from our wedding in 1985 (read that: big hair and enormous sleeves) was our 1982 edition of the Betty Crocker Cookbook. The fact that neither of us is much good in the kitchen notwithstanding, this excellent collection of recipes and cooking tips has served us well over the past quarter of a decade. So well, in fact, that it is now a coverless, tattered shadow of its former self.
With the index in shreds (arguably the single most useful part of any cookbook), this past Christmas I asked for a replacement. My husband obliged me by providing me with two new cookbooks and my kids with one of their own.
When I opened my shiny new copy of the 2005 edition of the Betty Crocker Cookbook, my plan was to go through the old raggedy book and take out any recipes I use that aren’t included in the new one. I did that yesterday. I only found one. One. It’s the recipe for a Swedish tea ring that my mother (and now I) make for every Christmas morning.
True, the new book is missing some real meal-time gems, like jellied salmon mold, venison sauerbraten, and beet and horseradish mold. Yumm-o. Oh, and it only includes one method for making a lattice top pie crust, instead of four. (Yes, seriously, four: regular, diamond top, twisted top, and spiral top.) But it more than makes up for those shortcomings (!) with some excellent features:
- Healthier recipes that reflect current food preferences and lifestyles
- Full nutritional breakdowns of each recipe
- Particular recipes tagged as: low-fat; fast; bread machine; slow cooker; and lighter.
- Basic cooking tips and help
- Binder format with tabbed category dividers
Of course, it’s hundreds of pages of recipes for real people with regular kitchens and grocery store ingredients and typical American tastes. The sections included are:
- Getting Started
- Appetizers & Beverages
- Cakes & Pies
- Casserole & Slow Cooker
- Cookies & CAndies
- Eggs & Cheese
- Fish & Shellfish
- Rice, Grains, Beans & Pasta
- Salads & Salad Dressing
- Sauces, Seasonings & Accompaniments
- Soups, Sandwiches & Pizza
- Vegetables & Fruits
- 20 Minutes or Less
The sections on slow cookers and quick meals are especially appreciated in this house. Anything to make cooking less of an event and more of a means to an end (keeping the family from starving) helps!
I already love this great, basic cookbook. The old one won’t be missed.