I am lucky enough to have in my possession an old and very worn-looking Betty Crocker picture cookbook that used to be my grandmother’s. I’ve looked through it more than once in search of a publish date, but have never found one. My grandparents married in 1942 (I think. Mother? Confirm.) so I’m guessing based on that date, the style of the photographs, and the way the cookbook is written that it was published in the 40s or 50s. This cookbook is a gem in so many ways. I’ve made a few recipes from this cookbook (all desserts) and have referenced a few measurements from it as well. What intrigues me most about this cookbook is all the writing and description and directions for making one’s kitchen, home, and lifestyle fit into the “Betty Crocker way.” I’ve laughed aloud many a time reading through this cookbook; the cultural references and gender stereotypes really reflect the times in which it was written. I’ve been meaning to blog about this for awhile now, and have decided to take each Friday in November to share with you the wise words of wisdom from Betty and her picture cookbook.
Let’s begin with a few helpful tips from the “Special Helps” section on page 2 of the cookbook.
Betty says: If you’re tired from overwork, Household chores you’re bound to shirk. Read these pointers tried and true and discover what to do.
– Wear comfortable clothes and properly fitted shoes while working around the house. (Alongside a picture of a woman vacuuming in a dress and apron.)
–For personal outlook…Eat proper food for health and vitality. Every morning before breakfast, comb hair, apply make-up, a dash of cologne, and perhaps some simple earrings. Does wonder for your morale. [But only SIMPLE EARRINGS are required!! And this MUST be done before breakfast!!]
-Do head work while dusting, sweeping, washing dishes, paring potatoes, etc. Plan family recreation, the garden, etc.
–If you feel tired, lie down on the floor on your back, put your hands above your head, close your eyes, and relax for 3 to 5 minutes. (Accompanied by a picture of a woman wearing a dress and apron and lying down on her kitchen floor with ZZZZzzzzzzzzzs coming out of her head.) [BUT ONLY LIE DOWN FOR 3 TO 5 MINUTES!!]
-Harbor pleasant thoughts while working. It will make every task lighter and pleasanter. (Accompanied by a picture of a woman dreaming about ballroom dancing, a tropical island, golf, and sailing.)
-Notice humorous and interesting incidents to relate at dinnertime when family is together. (Accompanied by a picture of a woman wearing a dress and apron and noticing a cat stuck up in a tree.)
Check up on yourself! If after following all these rules for proper rest, exercise, diet, you are still tired and depressed, have a medical check-up and follow doctor’s orders.