Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Four Betties for the price of one!

I recently picked up a little treat.

Betty Crocker's 4 in 1 Cookbook Collection is a little newer than I usually get (1980), but that's the date of the collection as a whole. The four favorite cookbooks that comprise the collection all have 1970s copyrights, so I feel justified in writing about this one.

I want to dig into this book in more depth later because there are more gag-worthy recipes and a few double-take-worthy pictures (including one of some meatballs that somehow reminds me of the warden in Superjail!). That means today we're just getting a quick look at one outstanding recipe from each of the four collections.

Cooking American Style (1975) is the safest bet if you don't want something crazy. American-style primarily seems to mean "American-style before all the recipes were based on gelatin, canned fruit cocktail, and deviled ham."

There's still room to make things uncomfortable, though, like this take on that most-American sandwich, the cheeseburger:

Okay, I suppose it's not terrible if you think of a tuna melt as an acceptable sandwich, but come on! Giving it the "cheese burger" name, even with that tricky extra space, is bound to set up expectations this sandwich is not prepared to fulfill.

I was prepared for the pages of jiggling, sparkly molds full of lemon gelatin and canned fish/ radishes/ mayonnaise/ raisins/ celery/ staplers/ etc. in Betty Crocker's Salads (1977), but I was happy to see a number of other perfectly scary salads that didn't require any gelatin at all. For instance, have you ever thought, "I could really go for a bowlful of thawed peas mixed with green grapes and coated in oil?"

Then Grape-Pea Salad is perfect for you! Just be sure to serve it on shredded cabbage and some ripped-up iceberg so it's a proper salad.

Betty Crocker's Hamburger Cookbook (1977) has recipes for dozens of burgers and meatloaves, but the "Dear Meal Planner" letter at the front of the book immediately sent me to my favorite recipe in the section, with its promise of "a meat loaf filled with such exotica as bananas, green pepper and orange marmalade." Oh, yeah! It's Meat Loaf Tropicale:

This meat loaf manages to combine a healthy breakfast (banana and oatmeal) with a classic breakfast (bacon and egg), while also throwing in random other ingredients to keep it all company. Yes, there's the promised orange marmalade and green pepper, along with plenty of nutmeg, mustard, allspice, and onion! This little number is guaranteed to break the ice at parties! (And pretty likely to break the party up as well...)

And finally, from Betty Crocker's Do-Ahead Cookbook (1977), we have the perfect dish for when the party theme is "I carved part of a tentacle off of some giant sea creature and decided it belonged on the buffet":

Yes, it's that slimy orange-hued miracle, Apricot Ham Buffet:

It's great served hot or cold! As long as your definition of "great" involves canned apricots baked with ham and mustardy preserves.

Betty, I know you're both imaginary and roughly my grandma's age, but this collection kind of makes me want to kiss you.


  1. This is quite a treasure! Nice hunting skills, Poppy

    1. Not only can I hunt, but I can also eviscerate a cookbook in no time.

  2. I have this collection too; it's lots of fun! πŸ˜„πŸ˜œ

    1. Cool! I always have fun with Betty Crocker books.