Food date: 2016.297

I’ll admit; I have an obsession with cookbooks, especially ones with history and personal stories included. One of my more recent purchases is “My Kitchen Year” by Ruth Reichl, where she discusses the first cookbook with actual measurements (versus instructions like a dash of salt). That cookbook was “The Boston Cooking School Cook Book,” by Fannie Merritt Farmer. That book sounded very familiar. At first I thought I read it while researching food history then I remembered—my mother recently showed me the F. M. Farmer cookbook. It was my maternal grandmother’s copy. I LOVE those kind of moments. Here I had a bit of history on my shelf. The F. M. Farmer’s original edition was published in 1896 though our copy was printed 1943.


Of all the cookbooks on my shelf, when growing up, I was a Betty Crocker girl. I have “borrowed” my mother’s copy of “Betty Crocker’s Cookbook,” which as you can see from the picture, it is pretty worn out. Our copy is the 1970 edition. I was looking at it again the other day and cracking up over pictures. I’ll admit that I have not attempted the Petals ’N Pickles recipe, but I have used the sweet breads, pancakes, cookies, cakes and frosting recipes for years. I made my own notes and adjustments on some of my favorite recipes. I can only hope I asked my mother before marking up her cookbook! I claim no originality here, but I realized that making notes and adding personal adjustments in your cookbooks creates a personal recipe diary. It’s a habit that I lost but will restart.

FFF’s (Fun Food Facts):

Who was Betty Crocket?

-Much to my surprise, Betty Crocker was not a real person, but an image created to give a personal voice to the recipes and products from General Mills. “Betty” is a trademark and brand name only. (Well, there is a little bit of my childhood innocence lost.)

-Betty Crocker was created in 1921 and was reportedly outed as fiction in 1945.

-The first portrait of “Betty” was created in 1939. The actress Adelaide Hawley Cumming played “Betty Crocker” from 1949 to 1964.

-This has nothing to do with Betty but I highly recommend watching the “Cooked” series on Netflix by Michael Pollan. Very informative and has some food history in the mix.

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