Monday, June 8, 2009

Childhood Cookbooks


As a little girl I remember looking at my mom’s childhood cookbook entitled Betty Crocker’s Cook Book for Boys and Girls. The pictures were so colorful and the recipes “looked” so easy. I used to dream of making those colorful creations. The only actual recipe I remember making out of the book was Butterscotch Brownies. This is one of the very first recipes I remember making all by myself.


Butterscotch Brownies – adapted from Betty Crocker’s Cook Book for Boys and Girls

¼ c. shortening (but use butter instead), melted

1 c. light brown sugar

1 egg

¾ c. flour

1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. vanilla

½ c. nuts (optional)


Mix all ingredients together. Bake 350 degrees for 25 minutes in an 8x8 pan. Do not overbake.


The copyright of Betty Crocker’s Cook Book for Boys and Girls is 1957 so it had been around for awhile. A couple of years ago I was longing for this cookbook. I wanted to see all those great photographs of “kid crafted” food again. Can you believe Amazon still carried it?! I immediately ordered my own copy. I was so excited when it came in the mail. The cookbook, of course, was written for children and there were actual children who tested the recipes. Their commentary shows the times. Peter, one of the kid testers refers to making his dad a cake for his birthday and states, “Dad said it was keen”. What a hoot! I am so glad I was able to find this treasure again.


The first cookbook of my very own was entitled, Holiday Cookbook from the Youth Publications of The Saturday Evening Post. I convinced my parents to order it from one of my school book orders. Days like National Smile Day, National Split Pea Soup Week, and Mexican Feast of Radishes are highlighted with celebratory menus. One of the first recipes I tried on my own besides the Butterscotch Brownies was No-Bake Cookies. It was listed under April for April Fool’s Day. I thought this was cool that this recipe was under April which is when my birthday is.


No-Bake Cookies – adapted from Holiday Cookbook, Youth Publications of The

Saturday Evening Post

2 c. sugar

½ c. butter

½ c. milk

¼ c. cocoa

1 tsp. vanilla

3 c. oatmeal (not instant)


Boil sugar, butter, milk, and cocoa together for 3 minutes. Remove form heat and add other ingredients. Drop by teaspoonfuls on waxed paper. Let harden up.


Butterscotch brownies are still a favorite treat for me though I haven’t had them for awhile. My grandmother still bakes those no-bake cookies though I think the recipe is a little different than the one I mentioned above. When I was looking through both of these cookbooks the other night it was so nostalgic remembering how it used to feel to get so excited about a potential recipe. To admire the pictures and artwork in these two cookbooks. Just to remember being a kid and dreaming—knowing that nothing was too far from my grasp. Memories are the best medicine for culinary creativity block. Yep, that's me down below!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sweet memories. I love it!!!

Brown-Eyed Girl said...

You were a little cutie. Still are.

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