Latest ‘Big Red’ makes everyone a foodie
Betty Crocker’s beloved classic cookbook is back and better than ever.
The 12th edition of Betty’s “Big Red” Cookbook launches this week, and it’s packed full of more than 1,500 recipes and 1,000 photos.
“Betty has been around for 75 years and she’s always been a well-trusted resource in the kitchen,” says Big Red cookbook editor Cathy Swanson. “She gives you inspiring but doable recipes and food ideas.”
Hear Cathy talk about the challenges of creating a new version of an iconic cookbook, in this video.
“This book really focuses on how to cook from scratch. It features kitchen-tested heirloom recipes, new twists on the classics and the latest trends,” says Cathy.
The latest Big Red is launching at a time when being a foodie is a celebrated part of American culture.
“People are really interested in food these days. Everyone is a foodie,” she says “They’re watching cooking shows. They’re Instagramming what they’re eating for dinner. They’re wanting to learn more about where ingredients come from. And this book really focuses on all of those things.”
Sure, there are countless recipe applications and websites. But Cathy says there is something special about having a cookbook in the kitchen.
“It’s a great present for newlyweds or even for teenagers wanting to learn how to cook. Big Red has everything you need to know all in one place,” she says. “Rather than cooking and having dough on your hands and going ‘Oops, my phone just turned off,’ you can just flip through the pages and find what you need to answer all of your questions.”
Cathy hopes Big Red 12 will become a family legacy cookbook that is passed down from generation to generation as a reminder of memories made during delicious dinners. Hear why she thinks cookbooks can become keepsakes, in this audio clip.
For visual learners, the cookbook features quick techniques that show steps in sharp photographs and very few words.
There are also “learn to” pages featuring tips and tricks from an array of cooking techniques, like roasting.
“We break it down step-by-step, just like you had a friend in the kitchen that knows a lot about cooking, to tell you this is exactly what you want to do to make roasting work for you,” Cathy explains. “And then we include a recipe right next to it that illustrates these techniques. It makes it super easy to be a good cook.”
The cookbook also includes recommendations on what to do with the staple food items in your cupboard or fridge, as well how to make use of the leftovers from selected recipes.
Other features that are fitting for fast-paced families are make-ahead meals and one-dish dinners.
“People aren’t eating traditional meals the way they used to, with the meat, potatoes, a vegetable and bread,” says Cathy. “They’re eating maybe one, two, three things at the most on a plate. And it’s not just casseroles. It’s skillets, pot pies, foil packs and sheet pan dinners where there is less clean-up required after the meal has been made.”
Other fun add-ins to the new Big Red include global flavors, food substitutions, vegetarian options, beverage recipes, plus whole grain and rice basics.
Putting together a cookbook like this must take a long time, right?
Cathy’s team has been working on the 2016 Big Red for about four years. They go through old editions, recipe-by-recipe, to decide what stays, what goes, what’s updated and what’s added. She says creating the cookbook is like putting a puzzle together, and the team has fun seeing how all of the pieces fit.
Our cookbook team is always watching for food trends and anticipating what will be next. And then they find ways to share new recipes in an approachable way.
“This also is months of work in the photo studios here at General Mills. Five photographers, seven photo assistants and 13 food stylists work together to make all of these photographs as beautiful as they are,” Cathy says. “I’m so proud to have been working on this book because it’s full of information. I think it really helps people understand how to cook and gives them confidence to be able to create great meals for their family and friends.”
The new Betty Crocker Cookbook is available wherever books are sold, and on BettyCrocker.com.
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