Having previously talked about my adoration of libraries, and of books in general, I feel I should admit that mostly I read crap. Chick-lit, crime fiction, so-obvious-it's-almost-ridiculous whodunnits, and so on. Occasionally I'll pick up something great, more often it's escapist reading of the highest order. Recently I picked up the above book: Finding Betty Crocker: The Secret Life of America's First Lady of Food. I'm don't read a huge number of non-recipe food-related books but this one caught my eye as I've always liked Betty. Not that we're friends or anything, just that I'd grown up using "her" products and she really was a symbol of Americana food.
Needless to say I came crashing back down to earth when I found out that she wasn't real. She was simply a marketing tool devised by some seriously clever folk at Gold Medal Flour. The book traces the history of Betty - from her appearances in newspapers to radio shows to live appearances to guest spots on TV. For many women (and men) she was the end-all-and-be-all in kitchen wisdom and hope, in particular during the Depression. Even Eleanor Roosevelt wrote to Betty asking for cooking advice! There are also a number of photos tracing Betty's visual history; from what she looked like in the early print ads to her more recent portrait updates. A bit like Barbie, Betty doesn't really age - in fact she seems to be getting a bit younger as time goes on (and minus the Botox!)
As far as the book itself, it was an interesting, quick read - while not a total page-turner, it still provided a fascinating insight into the world of baking marketing. In addition to following Betty the woman it also follows the product line, including noting the "horror" of the baking public when cake mixes first became available. Now, of course, there are whole cookbooks devoted to baking via a cake mix (sacrilege, people. Sacrilege!) An interesting read - for bakers and non-bakers alike.
Readers of this blog will know that on occasion I mention my friends...and to protect their innocence I tend to refer to them by various nicknames. Now one of those nicknames/people has taken on a blogging life of their own! Go on over there, have a look and be supportive, okay? Not only because I said so, but because, well... I said so!
The Baker's Wife goes online!
...and for those following the resolution, all is going well. Most weeks have far exceeded the 140 minute mark, and I'm really getting into it. I will admit some days it's harder to find those 20 minutes than I thought. Other days, I find myself lo0king at the watch and thinking, "40 minutes already? How did that happen?" More on this later on. In the meantime, be prepared for a phone call from me. :)
...and lastly, in "hungry three" news, First Grade starts tomorrow. I am sitting here resisting the urge to start crying and yelling, "My babies! My babies!" (although I reserve the right to do that tomorrow after I've dropped them off.)