3 ways Betty Crocker’s advice went beyond recipes
Betty Crocker – both her name and iconic brand – has been a staple in American culture for decades. But while she is most notably known for her cooking advice, few know that Betty was a trendsetter and trailblazer outside of food as well.
In fact, there are very few modern trends that Betty didn’t tackle years ago. Whether it be the latest decluttering trend, or selling homemade crafts, Betty’s advice has extended to a variety of subjects over the years.
Organization and arrangement
Tidying and simplifying your home is a major trend today, and it happens to be something Betty tackled back in the early 1940s. While her advice still related to baking, it was one of her first pieces of guidance beyond ingredients and recipes specifically.
A kitchen organized by categories often caused home cooks to need to make a lot of motions just to make simple recipes. Betty Crocker’s suggestion for a modern kitchen was a Home Baking Center.
All the essentials for baking – from ingredients to mixing bowls, cups, spoons and utensils – would be within reaching distance. Drawers were organized according to use, and cupboard doors even had a suggested arrangement.
A Home Baking Center and the Betty Crocker Cake Making Plan streamlined the amount of time needed to mix and handle ingredients. Mixing a cake that used to take 20 minutes of time, could now be done in less than five minutes.
In 1946, Better Home Management for Happiness expanded on the idea of a home baking center and included more ideas for “working centers,” such as a cleaning center, salad center and cooking-and-serving center. Properly using cupboards, drawers and other spaces in the kitchen would save time and effort.
Whether someone was repairing a home, or making gifts for friends, Betty had some advice on what every new DIY-er needed to know.
The Modern Woman’s Fix It Yourself Handbook of Home Repair in 1973 took the headache and excessive cost out of home repair. Why should anyone need to call a professional to handle minor everyday jobs?
While this handbook wouldn’t make someone an expert overnight, it did encourage readers to not underestimate themselves. It also gave advice on when a job really did require a professional or expert.
Betty knew making gifts didn’t have to break the bank. Gifts to Make for Love or Money: A How-To Book of Imaginative Ideas for Fun-giving or Fund-raising was a step-by-step guide in crafting for all levels, from seasoned crafters to those looking to pick up a new hobby. Save those jar lids to make some coasters! Or turn used tape dispensers into owl eyes! Readers could get creative and recycle items that would otherwise be discarded, and turn those items into cute gifts.
Needing a little extra help with basic life skills may be perceived as a recent phenomenon – it’s even appeared in classes on some college campuses over the last few years – but starting out on your own has never been easy.
Betty Crocker’s Starting Out: How To Get The Most Out of Your Home, Furnishings, Food, Money taught its readers in 1975 how to tackle those “adult” tasks for the first time, offering advice for both the practical and aesthetic side of living on your own and setting up your home.
Everything from home purchasing and signing leases, to what kind of cookware to choose and how to set up your furniture would be answered by Betty’s sage wisdom.
Given that Betty has given so much advice over the years, it’s almost harder to find a subject she hasn’t tackled.
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