Betty Crocker’s ‘New’ Picture Cook Book. Illustrations by Joseph Pearson.
I was fortunate to find a copy of ‘Betty Crocker’s New Picture Cook Book’ in a second hand shop last week. My copy is a first edition, in it’s sixth printing and that was way back in 1961. Looking through it, I see how much the likes of ‘Madmen’ and ‘Pan Am’ have been influenced from the books of this era but also how much we’ve changed as a society, in the way that we interact with one another and in terms of what we now find attractive to eat. The stereotypical scene of the good housewife taking a steaming pot from the oven, with a big smile on her face, as her husband does his ‘honey I’m home’ bit, features throughout the book. Alongside pictures of strange dishes, (by today’s standards) of items like Ham Mouse, looking a little more like some space alien than enticing food for today’s table.
I loved these images of the Betty Crocker office with the Kitchens in ‘Golden Valley’, didn’t everything in the 1960’s just appear to be so perfect ! The book is actually a pretty amazing piece of culinary research, with over 450 pages and 1,850 recipes from kitchen know how to eggs, soups and vegetable ideas. There are some great paragraphs too, like this from the section entitled ‘Hints for the Homemaker’.
Wear comfortable shoes and easy fitting clothes while working. Stand erect. Good posture prevents fatigue. Have sink, work table, counter tops at height that is comfortable to eliminate strain. If dishpan is too low, set it on a box. Use a dust mop and long handled dust pan. Use self-wringing mop to prevent stooping.
Refresh Your Spirits
Every morning before breakfast, comb hair, apply makeup and a dash of cologne. Does wonders for your morale and your family’s too ! Think pleasant thoughts while working and a chore will become a ‘labour of love’. Have a hobby. Garden, paint pictures, look through magazines for home planning ideas, read a good book or attend club meetings. Be interested and you’ll always be interesting ! If you have a spare moment, sit down, close your eyes and just relax. (Priceless advice ! )
When I first picked up the book, I was instantly drawn to the illustrations by a talented guy called Joseph Pearson.
All the way through the book Joseph has included beautifully drawn characters and situations which have been added to cleverly illustrate each section. There must be over 100 of them.
I couldn’t discover much information about Joseph Pearson apart from the books he illustrated in a more watercolour style in the USA in the mid fifties called ‘The New People and Progress’. If anyone has any more info or knows or any other books he’s illustrated in this syle, I’d be interested to hear from you. In the meantime, I hope you like them too. On a different but connected note, if you haven’t seen the 2009 Mel Streep and Amy Adams film ‘Julie and Julia’, about the life of French Cook, Julia Child, then I would highly recommend it. A wonderful feel-good film created from two true stories, enjoy.