Friday, April 24, 2015

My Own Copy

Oh, my gosh!

I have not been this excited since we discovered hidden treasure behind the wall in Boy#1's room. (Have I ever told you that story? It was really, really, exciting, but it's not today's story.)

After I posted yesterday and friends and Much Older Sister chimed in with their own recollections of Betty Crocker's Cook Book for Boys and Girls, the wrinkles in my brain activated and I suddenly remembered that the very BCCBFBAG cookbook MOS and MomQueenBee had used in the 1950s was in a bookshelf in my sewing room.

This morning I pulled out that book and realized that my brain wrinkles had been only partially correct. This is indeed a BCCBFBAG, but not the BCCBFBAG. It must have been one I picked up in a thrift shop decades later because this one is in pristine condition.

This page, the one with the recipe for Butterscotch Brownies?

The original MOS/MQB version would have been stiffened with splashes of vanilla and drips of egg white. (What? We were preschoolers. We were not perfect. Yet.)

I'm sure the pages had been pulled out of their bindings and grubby hands had put smudges all over the pictures. But those pictures? Still perfect.

Paintbrush Cookies. You cannot imagine the hours I spent believing I would be able to duplicate these miniature works of art. They were Tiffany glass made with Faberge eggs.You might think I was greatly disappointed that when our mom finally let us try paintbrush cookies they were definitely Picasso. Also, inedible. But I wasn't disappointed--all of these recipes were magic.

There's the drum cake. People, it's a cake decorated with peppermint sticks and maraschino cherries. In fact, here are the directions in their entirety: "Bake cake in layers as directed on Betty Crocker Chocolate Devils Food Cake Mix package. Frost cooled cake with Betty Crocker Fluffy White Frosting Mix."

This is not cooking, it is product placement.

And still? In spite of the product placement, the dashed dreams, the recipes that include Canned Peas De Luxe ("the liquid from the can makes the flavor of the peas better"), I love this book. Just looking at the picture of the Igloo Cake transports me back to a day when I was standing beside Much Older Sister packing brown sugar and unwrapping butter (oleo, in our frugal household) for butterscotch brownies. We were five and six years old and cooking was a brand new adventure.

It was a very long time ago.

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