Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Cooking Calendar

I recently acquired Betty Crocker's Cooking Calendar (1962), and I thought it would be fun to use it to outline the cooking year here so we can start out each month with a little advice from Betty.

Although I often use this space to make fun of crazy food trends from the past, the first thing I noticed about this book is that the food trend it celebrates is once again foremost in many cooks' minds: seasonality. The first page notes that this "is a cook book written to inspire you to lend variety to your meals by using fresh fruits and vegetables when they are at their peak of flavor and are most plentiful." Although many now think of paying attention to seasonally appropriate produce as being the new big thing, it was of course the only option for far longer than having a grocery full of fresh tomatoes and strawberries in January.

What are the recommendations for this month?

January is broccoli and orange month! That sounds fine to me, as long as I don't have to put them in the same recipe.

What are Betty's recommendations for broccoli and orange month? Since I have a bit of a fixation on ladies' luncheons (and because there is such a pretty picture of the Orange Baked Alaska-- seen above), this will be our representation for the month:

I am impressed that this includes actual food: it's not all sugar and potato chips and many ladies' luncheons are. Okay, the "Turkey Divan" is really just another variation of the ubiquitous green bean casserole recipe, featuring fresh or frozen broccoli in place of the green beans. At least there are no instructions to dye it pink so everyone will know that the dish is meant for a ladies' luncheon!

The orange baked Alaska is lovely in the picture and probably tasty too, but another recipe I suspect I would never have the courage to consume with company. Wrestling ice cream and meringue free of an orange rind sounds like yet another opportunity to inadvertently ruin someone's table cloth.


  1. Hi Poppy! Happy New Year!!! I can't tell you how delighted I am to know you will be sharing this book throughout the year. (I hope, I hope:) Betty Crocker's Cooking Calendar was one of the inspirations for my blog. It still is one of my very best favorite Betty Crocker cookbooks. I totally agree, some of the recipes from that era were simply horrendous. But Betty, well she knew how to bring it to a new level. My plan is to dig into the past this year on my blog. I guess you could say it's going to be yet another "retro" year:)

    Thank you so much for sharing, for ideas for this's National Soup Month, Hot Tea Month, and Slow Cooker Month just off the top of my head:)

    1. I was excited to find the book and thought it would be a fun way to shape the year.

      I'm planning to celebrate soup month tonight! I made a nice loaf of bread to make into grilled cheese sandwiches to accompany some tomato soup this evening.

      Happy New Year!

    2. It's been a while since I've seen that book offered to buy, Poppy. You lucky "girl:)" Dinner sounds good, I'll be right there, lol...

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