Breaking into Betty’s Kitchen

Before taking a semester “off” from school for an internship, and moving into my very first apartment (out of dorm life!), my Mom gave me a cookbook.

My first cookbook; this one will teach you how to do everything from boiling water to baking a loaf of bread from scratch.

Betty Crocker

I have flipped through this book a few times, and love seeing the note left at the beginning – “Merry Christmas, Heather! Happy Cooking! Love, Mom & Dad”.  My college roommates used it to make homemade frosting, baked coconut shrimp and roasted meat with potatoes. I generally kept things simple, and had a tendency to modify Cooking Light recipes, make a box of mac n’ cheese with some steamed broccoli, or just throw some chicken breasts in the sauté pan.

Betty and I didn’t spend time together very often, but she’s always been around. She has survived at least seven moves, always gracing my kitchen with her signature red binder and plethora of untouched knowledge.

Recently I’ve started to realize that I make a lot of simple mistakes in the kitchen; our food tastes just fine, but if I paid a little bit more attention to details, it could taste that much better. If I splash cold water on the freshly cooked pasta in the strainer, it cools down. If I take the eggs out of the pan just before their done scrambling, the residual heat will do the rest. If I actually bake things in the center of the oven, the cook time will be sufficient.

Betty notes

Betty and I have a lot of catching up to do! I learn best by taking notes, and marking pages that I want to turn back to. I learn by doing, and sharing. Betty and I will also be compromising; many of her recipes call for sour cream, lard, stick after stick of butter, and random thins like packaged soup mixes.

I plan on going through every single page of this book, hoping you’re up for some reading & learning, too! I’m taking notes to remember the things that stand out, and marking an “H” next to recipes that I want to create, and/or modify.

Then, I’ll share them here, with you.

Betty will join me in the kitchen, teaching me some of the basics and eventually delving into the tricky things I have yet to attempt. She’ll inspire me to be innovative, remind me to keep the pantry stocked, and continue to help me appreciate the art of creating things in the kitchen.

I have  a list started of ideas for posts, and queue of “H” recipes waiting for their turn. I hope I also have your company, and taste-buds for testing!

Next week, my first lesson will be a refresher on the Cooking Basics & a few appetizers to keep our hunger at bay {Yogurt & Spinach Dips}.

Do you own the Betty Crocker Cookbook?

Any cooking basics, or types of recipes that you’d like to see featured?

Fun fact: I’ve actually been to Betty Crocker’s Kitchen. While I worked for Small Planet Foods, we visited the GM headquarters and got the full tour!



Filed under about me, food, learning, Nutrition

25 responses to “Breaking into Betty’s Kitchen

  1. What’s the “H” stand for – healthify? 🙂 I love to learn from classic cookbooks.

  2. This should be a fun blog theme – there is so much I need to learn! I’m interested in learning more about cooking with fresh spices. I know they can add a lot of flavor – but I find them a little intimidating!

  3. Oh, fun! You should cook your way through it a la Julie & Julia!

  4. joslynn

    Her banana bread, cinnamon rolls and chocolate cookies are my favorite recipes! My mom had the one from the early 90s and I loved to break it open when I made these things! Have fun!

  5. Emily

    Such a good idea! I feel like a lot of cooking you learn just by practicing and making mistakes, but it’s helpful to have reminders of small changes that could make a big difference. Can’t wait for the next post 🙂

  6. Mamacita

    I like Marlene’s idea to cook your way thru Betty’s book. There are lots of good tips; looking forward to your next “Betty” post.

    Love, Mamacita

  7. I love Betty Crocker cookbooks! My mom has an ooold one with black and white step by step photos on how to make things. I have one that’s the basic bridal cook book that my mom bought for me several years back (it’s just a normal cookbook with some great recipes but happens to be called a bridal edition). I use it for cookie baking, pancake recipes, quiches, etc. The classics. But I definitely need to make better use of all the cookbooks I own. Looking forward to your little cooking series.

  8. here’s a confession – i own an entire shelf of cookbooks – maybe 20? – and have never opened any of them. ACK.

    • Heather C

      The more I know, the more I want to just come by your house a few times a week and cook *with* you…there’s so much to teach!

  9. Me and Betty…does it get any closer? I would love to see what you can whip up…sometimes I don’t think you need any book.

  10. Vicki Bourneuf

    I have a couple of editions of this cookbook, and my first is my favorite. Literally falling apart. My favorite go to for the basics!

  11. Fun! I have the Better Homes and Garden cookbook, which is my Betty. I remember using the Jr. Better Homes and Garden cookbook growing up, too!

  12. That was my first cookbook!!! Also from my mom and dad with a sweet Christmas message. Weird!!!

  13. Never heard of that book!! I would love to learn to bake a victorian sponge if that features lol

  14. How cool! I used a Betty Crocker cookbook as our textbook in my food cooking class. I still use some of the recipes and go to it for ideas! It’s a classic standard that I know I’ll use forever.

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  17. You can find amazing recipes in cook books. The amount of amazing meals I have made for my family is unbelievable

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