Personal note: This is neither poetry nor technically a story. But my initial exposure to it was in an unforgettable oral presentation, and oral presentation is what this section of the website is really all about.

In 1969 the Betty Crocker Cookbook's First Edition was published. It was a loose-leaf binder of recipes presented in sections separated by dividers. Each section was devoted to a particular category of food and had a brief introduction. These introductory pieces, presented below, might be seen as a bit of cultural-anthropological history, a window on a past in which "a woman's job is to please her man."

The experience mentioned above was a practice performance by Anna Rose Keefe, a member of our local high school's 2009 speech team, which went on to win the statewide speech competition. Several years earlier, the team's coach, Marjory Rusakoff, had been cooking dinner, listening her daughter read aloud the cookbook's section introductions. She says the oratorical potential of the piece became obvious. I feel sure the team's 2009 state victory was due in no small part to that potential, and to Miss Keefe's implementation of it.

No recording was made of Ms. Keefe's practice performance or the state competition. But later an archival recording was made (with no audience) of all the team presentations. You can here/see Ms. Keefe's Betty Crocker portion here:

audio (MP3)
video (MP4)

The 1969 Betty Crocker Cookbook
The introductory paragraph to each recipe section
(Note: italicized text below indicates words that were omitted to make the text appropriate for oral presentation.)

See also the printable PDF
(back to Poetry)


Dear Friend,

You're just the one we had in mind as we planned this new book. To begin with, we know there are lots of ways you use a cookbook. You read it—simply because you like to read about food. Or you use it to "look up a recipe". Maybe someone brought you a brace of pheasants, or there was a special at the market.

In short, we've given you a cookbook to cook with, to be comfortable with. We hope it will become a friendly member of your kitchen family, that it will answer your questions, help solve your problems and make the eating and living in your house just a little easier, and a lot more fun!

Betty Crocker


First courses are friendly, first courses are fun. Nibbles in the living room, to take the edge off early-bird appetites. A curtain-raiser at the table, to set the stage for the good meal to come. Or just a "special little something" any old night—to tell your favorite family, "I'm so glad you came home!" Here they are. Help yourself. And then make up a few more all of your own.


What's the food that goes with just about everything? Think a minute—and you might well answer: soup! Soup and sandwich. Soup and salad. Sunday supper soup. Saturday lunch soup. First-course soup. Main-course soup. New soups from two soups....cold soup on a summer day. Hot soup on a stormy night. "What can we have that's different?" "What can we have that's quick but hearty?" Over and over again, you know yourself, someone's sure to say, "Let's just have soup!"


Simple, classic salads! Slimming, health-brimming salads! Crisp, cool salads! Bright, sparkling salads! Taste-tempting salads! A salad can brighten a meal, enliven a meal, be a meal. Give equal attention to the dressing for your salad—and make your own....You'll find your skill with a salad makes its own contribution to the quality of life in your house.

Eggs and Cheese

Partners in protein—eggs and cheese! For good lunch and supper dishes any time, you can always turn to eggs and cheese—alone or in combination. And here's a collection of happy choices—souffl├ęs, omelets, fondues, quiche, a Welsh rabbit—the foods everyone at every age thinks well of. And for breakfast, or any time—every kind of egg imaginable.


Eat your spinach! Eat your carrots! Eat your lima beans! How many of us are haunted by memories of the vegetables we had to eat? Not today! Not when you can have your favorites all year long. And with candied carrots, bacon-flavored beans—you can hardly wait to zip up to the vegetable corner of your dinner plate. Here are good ways to start.

Rice, Pasta Cereals

Rice is nice! As a dinner vegetable, a friendly base for foods you cream, a pudding for dessert. And rice is the mainstay food for millions of people on the face of the earth. Pasta is popular—and you don't have to be Italian to enjoy it. Try the recipes based on cornmeal, too—these are hearty peasant foods, beloved the whole world over. And as for cereals? What would we do without them!


Meat—your meals and your food budget revolve around it. Feel stymied trying to provide interesting meals that are budget conscious? Take heart—the pages that follow are chock-full of the kind of information dear to a thrifty woman's heart. And get to know your meat man. Ask him questions. If he recommends a cut you've never had—or never even heard of—don't be afraid to try it. You may have a new family favorite on your hands!


The pride of a good cook—and the test of a good cook—is the smoothness, the subtle seasonings, the satisfying savor of her sauces and gravies. With these recipes even your most critical guest will be impressed. And please don't be a one-gravy gal. Master the basic recipes—then find fun and flair in the variations. Widen your culinary world!

Preserves, Relishes and Garnishes

Betty's pickles! Aunt Alice's peach conserve! Mary's mint relish! Is there anything nicer than a gift you made yourself? Anything that gives you a deeper sense of satisfaction than a row of shining jars standing on your shelf? Pickles, jams, jellies, relishes, even garnishes—they all dress up your meals. So why not give your family your very best? It isn't all that hard!


Dessert! It's the high point of the meal. It's your chance to go dramatic, to be a little daring, to show you've been around. It's your big opportunity, even on a family night, to put a little extra-special love into your meal plan. And what an array awaits you—from crisps and cobblers to soufflés and crepes. No time for a special dessert? No excuses now! Just glance through this chapter for those recipes we've keyed as "Quick 'n Easy" just for you. Choose one for tonight!


Make somebody happy today—bake a cake! A chocolate cake for the man in your life. Or a white cake with peppermint frosting for "the girls" coming for bridge. Bake a sponge cake for Grandma, as lovely-light as the kind she used to bake. Bake a cake—have a party. Bake a cake to take to a party. Bake a cake just because you feel good today.


What's the American man's favorite dessert? Most people would agree—it's pie. And heading the list is apple pie. Followed closely by cherry pie and peach pie and lemon meringue and a lot of others. If you care about pleasing a man—bake a pie. But make sure it's a perfect pie. How? Simple. Spend a little time with this chapter; pick up our sure-fire tips for flaky pastry. Then try one of our recipes—family tested and guaranteed to satisfy. What more could you ask of a dessert?


Well, there you have it. This trusty volume contains more than 1600 success-guaranteed recipes for today's homemaker, for your family, and for your friends. Ladies, here's the "cookbook with the difference"—and that difference is Betty Crocker!