I’m shocked! Did you know Betty Crocker doesn’t exist, she isn’t a real person, but a figment of the imagination of an advertising executive at General Mills.  Really, will life’s disappointments never end.  Apparently General Mills wanted to sell more Gold Medal flour and came up with a plan to invent a typical housewife who prepared amazing meals using Gold Medal flour. 

Fictional, Betty made blue ribbon cakes from scratch and mouth watering pie crust.  They created a whole book just to show off her prowess.  If you don’t have one of these books you don’t remember the ’50’s.  Every new bride received at least one of these books stuffed with recipes for everything from Chipped Beef Puff (never tried it) to one I made often, Sunshine Jello Salad.  The orange jello filled with shredded carrots and pineapple was a cool summer treat.  Boxes of Jello filled the pantry with a rainbow of choices just waiting for boiling water to release the magic.  

My mom combined lime and lemon jello with cottage cheese, mayo, pineapple chunks and pecans to make a tasty lumpy green concoction.  I don’t know the official name of this delicacy, but it was forever referred to as ‘green lizard’ at our house.  A name given to it by my young husband who told my mom he’d rather eat a green lizard than that stuff.  That salad was known as green lizard from that day forward.     

Jello could be a dessert or a salad and showed up at most meals served in the ’50’s kitchen.  Kids loved jiggly red jello and if you included some obstacles like strawberries or bananas it could be considered healthy.  Although in those days we didn’t know about healthy food, it was just, you know, food. 

Not only did Betty know about baking she was also an expert at canning, freezing and plucking pin feathers out of the turkey’s butt.  Fictional Betty must have hailed from the Midwest, certainly not the desert southwest.  The chapter on canning doesn’t say anything about prickly pear jelly, there is however, detailed instructions on how to utilize those extra twenty-five home-grown tomatoes to make catsup.  Really, you can make catsup? I thought it was on aisle 4 with the mustard and pickles.  Oh, apparently you can also make pickles from tiny cucumbers, who knew?  These lively pursuits are apparently for people who don’t have Netficks 

Most of the ingredients for Betty’s recipes could be found in a well stocked pantry.  Those were the days before fast food, Jack in the Box was still just a toy for little kids.  Dining out was for special occasions, the rest of the year three meals a day were prepared at home.  

I enjoy preparing the evening meal while I indulge in a glass of wine.  I admit I’ve  scrolled through allrecipes.com  when I feel like something new or different for dinner.  Being old school, I print the recipes, I’ve never figured out how to hold a glass of wine, spatula and I-pad at the same time. 

I have to admit the Internet is great for quick access to a huge variety of recipes.   Unfortunately, I’ve discovered many times the recipes call for spices that aren’t on my shelf or ones that I don’t want to purchase since I might not use them again. Last week I found a recipe for Cajun Shrimp that looked tasty. I search through all the McCormick spices on the shelf, but no Cajun spice to be found.  What is Cajun Spice anyway? Back to the Internet to find the secret ingredients .  Searching through the shelf again I found the necessary spices to mix together to call it Cajun.  I was back in business.  It doesn’t usually work that way though. Spoiler Alert –  Cajun Shrimp didn’t make the cut to move to the revered recipe box.

The other down side of Internet recipes is quantity. The recipes are perfect if you need  to feed a small army or a family with four hungry teenagers.  By the time I pare down all the ingredients to feed the two of us, the recipe doesn’t bear much resemblance to the original.  Figuring out a quarter of a quarter teaspoon of something becomes a dash of this and pinch of that and we still end up with more food than we will eat.  Repeating a meal once is enough, I don’t want to eat it all week.  Unless it’s chili.

4 replies
  1. Glenn Gilmore
    Glenn Gilmore says:

    And of course everybody wants to know ‘WHATS FOR DINNER? enough to make you have another glass of wine!

    • Carrie Bonello
      Carrie Bonello says:

      Yep, sometimes it take two just to get through the prep time. Of course then one with dinner. Life is good!

  2. Tricia
    Tricia says:

    Apparently the cooking gene skips a generation. But i still have a cook book “the ten day detox”. It’s tucked nicely in the pantry between the Just add water pancake mix and the powered sugar!


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