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It's the book that started it all, the well-loved edition that first bought Betty Crocker cookbooks into American homes and hearts. Published in 1950, this ground-breaking title made cooking easy, it made cooking appealing, and best of all, it made cooking fun. Packed full of practical tips, useful hints, and lavish color photography, this was the book that shaped cooking for generations, the book that people remember. Every recipe you -- or your mother -- ever wanted is here, from pigs in blankets, to Emergency Steak to Chicken Tomato Aspic. Enjoy the clever ideas throughout -- twelve months of birthday cake ideas, showing how to decorate a cake to match each month's gem stone, pointers to make setting up a kitchen easy, or hints to make housework more pleasant. Feel a part of history when making Home Front Macaroni, developed during WW II rationing to stretch meat. Get into the spirit of fun with a Betty Crocker "Cookie Shine" or cookie baking party. People who grew up with this book will want it for the memories; those who are new to the book will want it for its charm and its intelligent approach to cooking. It's a perfect keepsake and a great gift. First published in 1950, Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book is now reprinted in all its old-fashioned glory. Betty immerses you in a time when women were homemakers, cakes had at least two layers, and salad was iceberg lettuce. You may hesitate to recreate what your mother or grandmother probably cooked--if so, consider that back then we ate simply, in the days before the word foodie was invented. Many of the recipes suit today's harried lifestyle, as you see in Six Layer Dinner, combining eight cups of vegetables with a pound of ground meat, and Dainty Tea Brownies topped with colorful chopped pistachios.
Hundreds of black-and-white photos, animated drawings, and quaint color spreads of prepared dishes aid you in using the recipes. Beginners learn how to measure ingredients, choose the best economical cuts of meat, and cut up round and sheet cakes for serving. There is even a section on how to set the table. This loose-leaf book contains enough recipes to fill a 12-page, double-column index. Best of all, perhaps, is the "Shortcut" section, where useful tips include cleaning a grater of cheese residue by rubbing it with a piece of stale bread. These are interspersed with 15 ways to recuperate from overwork. One suggestion is to lie down on the kitchen floor on your back and relax for three to five minutes. Still a good idea, though few people have a kitchen large enough to try this. --Dana Jacobi