On a recent visit to our childhood home, we noticed how many changes there were to our mother's kitchen: the microwave oven, newer appliances replacing the old, an added shelf. But in the corner of the bookshelf rested the Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook,which had been there — and well-used — for close to 50 years.
Despite never having existed, let alone tested recipes, Betty Crocker still holds an important place for many who were fed in twentieth-century kitchens. This new Betty Crocker Christmas Cookbook continues the tradition of simple, basic recipes for caregivers more interested in getting quick and easy meals on the table rather than showing off culinary skills, and adds some decorating and entertaining tips as well.
The first recipe out of the 250 offered — for beer-cheese dip — reveals a lot about the level of cuisine: the main ingredient is a loaf of prepared cheese product. Each recipe is accompanied by the time for preparation and total time required, as well as a detailed nutritional breakdown. Many also feature "make-ahead magic" tips for pre-production, as well as other tips labeled as "holiday inspirations."
Although there are some main courses represented, many of the recipes involve candies, cookies and desserts. Besides being featured in the chapters "Candy Cane Lane" and "Joyful Desserts," sweets are also represented in "Gifts to Give" and "Santa’s Workshop," which also offers "recipes" for decorations such as a holiday garland. One complaint: unless the recipe readers desire is in the middle of the book, it will be difficult for them to leave the paperback open to the desired page. The soft binding also will make it hard to use a cookbook holder to solve this issue.