Betty White celebrates her 90th birthday with a custom Betty Crocker cake.Two of our favorite Bettys--Crocker and White--turn 90 this year. In honor of their shared celebration, Betty Crocker designed a three-tier triple chocolate cake for Betty White that's as vibrant and fun as the comedienne herself. (Tune in Monday night, January 16 for NBC's "Betty White's 90th Birthday: A Tribute To America's Golden Girl.") Funny, gracious, beloved, and wearing 90 years beautifully, both Bettys make us feel pretty great about the idea of getting older.
We know how you feel about Crocker. In every cookbook round-up we run on Shine Food--chef cookbooks, new cookbooks, best-selling cookbooks--the refrain is the same: Betty Crocker is the best. Whether you need to know what soft peaks look like, how to make perfect coffee, or how to set the table, you can count on Betty.
But how did you first find her? Were you given a Betty Crocker cookbook as a wedding present? Did you find it in a used bookstore when you moved into your first apartment? Did you see this commercial?
How did Betty Crocker become your most trusted kitchen confidante? What's your Betty Crocker story?
Betty Crocker's 1959 Guide to Easy Entertaining contains vintage advice that's as classic as her cakes.I've been known to steal--er, borrow--cookbooks from my mom. It's how I got my falling apart Fanny Farmer, and when I discovered a ring-bound book with a cover made to look like cross-stitch, is when I first fell in love with Betty.
She had a little help. In the 1959 edition of Betty Crocker's Guide to Easy Entertaining, the illustrations are by Peter Spier, the author and illustrator of some of my favorite children's books. Betty was practical, informative, and encouraging, while Spier's drawings were pure charm: an open front door revealing the corner of an inviting dinner table, or ladies in full-skirts handing out cocktails, then running upstairs to check on the sleeping babe. It was an A-team: the book made it all seem so easy. What's more, it looked fun. Before my mom's book was back in my apartment, I was already dreaming up menus.
And who cares about a few anachronistic mentions of getting by without "help" or the reference to the "5-day week" as if it's a new thing? The advice is still as timely as ever: not to bother trying to keep up with the Joneses, to entertain in ways that feels right for your life and budget, and to see being a host as an act of generosity. "The hostess who thinks of her party as a gift to her friends," the Betty Crocker guide promises, "can't go wrong."
What's your Betty Crocker story? The recipe that bowled you over, the cookbook that started the love affair, the cake mix that made you swear off from-scratch: tell it all.