I always believed in Betty Crocker and one day, similar to Nancy Drew's author Carolyn Keene, I got shot down and found out that 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 some how replaced parental figures
In the 50's my mother used to make tuna pinwheels and canned deviled ham canapes for her canasta parties. She was a sticker for an attractive food presentation and always took the foil completely off the TV dinner before serving.
Everyone baked bread but I guess not all people like Betty's Fruit loaf recipes because on page 78 of this cookbook the former owner wrote:
“Terrible; even Nookie the dog turned it down”.
The steamed brown bread people used to bake in a can was another baking tragedy and was so horrible my Dad took the failed recipe target shooting.
I used to love Betty Crocker's 7 minute frosting that my mother would put on some nuclear coloured cake 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 an near miss explosion each time.
Betty, I personally have to have to ask you however, what was up with that jellied salad section. I swear I became damaged goods from being forced to eat your famous Molded Gelatin Salad on a weekly basis. Were the parental rumours true that starving children in Africa were clamoring for this jellied wonder food?
As I aged I vowed I would never again eat a Betty inspired cottage cheese on a chunk of iceberg lettuce with a half pear or peach in the middle. I also promised myself only to drink Ginger Ale and never add it to lime or lemon jello with fruit; as no one wants to end up in a Betty Crocker Clinic.
I do leave you with a wonderful Betty Crocker cake recipe from Rochelle's Vintage Recipes and hopefully memories of culinary days gone by.
Orange Chiffon Cake
2 1/4 cups sifted Softsilk Cake Flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
MEASURE and SIFT together above ingredients in mixing bowl. Make a well and add in order:
1/2 cup cooking (salad) oil
5 unbeaten egg yolks (medium size)
3/4 cup cold water
grated rind of 2 oranges (about 3 tablespoons)
Beat with spoon until smooth.
Measure into large mixing bowl:
1 cup egg whites (7 or 8)
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
WHIP until whites form very stiff peaks. They should be much stiffer than for angel food or meringue. DO NOT UNDERBEAT.
POUR egg yolk mixture gradually over whipped egg whites-gently folding with rubber scraper just until blended. DO NOT STIR! POUR into ungreased pan immediately. BAKE in 10-inch tube, 4-inch deep at 325 degrees 55 minutes then 350 10 to 15 minutes. or 9x13x2-in. oblong 350- 45 to 50 minutes. or until top springs back when lightly touched. Immediately turn pan upside down, placing tube part over neck of funnel or bottle, or resting edges of square, oblong, or loaf pans on 2 other pans. Let hang, free of table, until cold. Loosen from sides and tube with spatula. Turn over and hit edge sharply on table to loosen.
Fluffy Orange Icing
Ideal for your orange Chiffon... Cream one and one half 3 0z. pkg. cream cheese until light and fluffy. Gradually add 2 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar. Beat well. Stir in grated rind of 2 oranges...1 1/2 tbsp. If too thick to spread, add a few drops of orange juice.
Linda Seccaspina for Zoomers Canada