My television went on the fritz and so I’ve had a bit of time on my hands lately. I decided to read a book. The thing is, those biographies my wife reads really don’t interest me. The only celebrity I ever wanted to know all about is Spongebob Squarepants. I read his biography a while ago. Much to my dismay I found out his life was a sham. Somebody made it all up. He didn’t really have all those adventures. Then they told me, Sandy the Squirrel actually lived in Malibu and only commuted to the Tree-Dome for filming. Well, I closed the book, and laid it on the table. All the while trying to pick up the pieces of my shattered life.
That was five years ago and I hadn’t opened a book since for fear of even more devastating news. But now I was ready. A highly intelligent lady at the library suggested it might be better if I read something called fiction. That’s French for a made-up story. Boy, those French people have like a different word for everything. By the way, their word for everything is tout. So now you know.
Anyway, I tried the whole fiction thing and frankly I’m disappointed. I mean I went through the entire Dr. Seuss catalogue and to be honest, I felt unfulfilled. The librarian then suggested I try a thicker, more adult book, but those kinds don’t have any pictures. How they expect you to follow along a complex story without any pictures is something I’d like to know. My search continued.
There were books about old sports teams and How-To books on just about every subject known to man. Those do have lots of pictures and because of them I am a slightly better person. I mean if I’m ever playing Chess, and mounting butterflies, while skiing across a glacier, and I come across a ’77 Chevrolet Impala with a clogged carburetor, I know just what to do. The thing is: How often does a situation like that come up? I mean really? Then again, I was just skimming those books and could have gotten a few of them a little mixed up.
That was when I found the book I seriously wanted to read. A book with beautiful color pictures and not excessively verbose. A book I could really sink my teeth into. A tome with the knowledge of the ages, both old and new. Of course, I am oh so reverently talking about the Betty Crocker Cookbook, twelfth edition. First published in 1950. Years before I was born, yet still relevant in today’s trying times. Who was Betty Crocker? This knowledge has been lost to the ages, but her legacy shall live forever. If Armageddon strikes, I’m sure it will be Betty’s volumes that will become the key to saving humanity. Or maybe not.
I put my nose to the proverbial grindstone, and delved deeply into the book and found the secrets it held. In short it tells you how to make food! No, not how to microwave chicken nuggets. How to make real food. The kind my wife, mother, and grandmother used to make. The really great thing is, it doesn’t push you into depression, like the cooking shows on TV do. Betty never says, “A garlic souffle requires exactly nine-hundred whips with the whisk alternating every ten between the right hand, left hand, left foot and your teeth. Everybody knows this, you dolt.” What makes it worse is the TV person disciplines you in an English accent, so it sounds even more condescending.
Also, you never need strange ingredients in making Miss Crocker’s stuff. Not even a mention is made of: Swiss Chard, Fenugreek, or Creme Fraise’. Nope, her recipes call for things I actually know about, like sugar, pepper, and beer. You heard it right. Betty puts beer in food. Dinner time has just saved a whole step. No more drinking for this guy. I just eat a little more chicken.
Reading Betty makes me educated as well. One of the things the library lady told me was, the book I chose should be challenging. Well let me tell you, it was extremely challenging to find out what a tsp was. I searched the book for days in vain, and almost gave up. But I should have trusted Betty. Tsp Is an abbreviation. That one, and many more, are all explained in a chart in the back of the book. If I would have gone right to the chart I would have known immediately, tsp meant teaspoon. Another one is C, and that means cup. Betty is so thoughtful. Apparently, before I cook anything, I’m supposed to de-stress by enjoying a relaxing cup of tea. I’m really more of a coffee person, but I certainly can appreciate the thought.
There were some confusing parts as well. Like when I was told to put in a table-spoon of lemon juice. I found the juice ok, but my wife had cleaned up. There were no spoons on the table. Well, I told my wife that Betty says there should always be a table spoon and she should never move it. She acknowledged my request by rolling her eyes. Another question I have is, “Have you ever tried to fold an egg?” It’s pretty messy. Then I looked into the back again and Betty explained how to fold something into batter. I just wish I hadn’t tried it my way with the first dozen eggs before I looked. Trust me eggs are hard to clean up.
Her book is almost perfection. Yes, I said almost. Now, I don’t want to judge. But you see Betty never fully explains is the half and quarter cups. Those measurements show up all through the book, but not mentioned in the chart in the back. However, I’m a man, and I have a chop-saw. I solved the problem. You’re welcome, Betty.
Another issue I had was with a recipe Betty got from her friend Rosemary. Now Rosemary’s Chicken calls for you to put in a quarter cup of Rosemary! Talk about putting a little of yourself into everything you create. Yeech! Well I don’t know any Rosemary’s, and I certainly don’t think I should go and find one just so I can put her in the oven bit by bit. Law enforcement frowns on that sort of thing. I guess I won’t be making that recipe. Besides there are a bunch of others to choose from.
So now I feel like a well read, highly educated individual. If some of you want to follow my path, be warned. Reading Betty’s book always made me hungry. It seemed that every time I was reading, I had to make a pot of Kraft mac and cheese to tide me over until my wife made dinner. Strange huh?
Hey everyone. Thanks for reading Mr. Ohhs! Sideways view. I hope you’re having as much fun as I am. If you like it, I bet a friend of yours will like it too. Share it on Facebook or send them this link MySidewaysView.com They’ll love you for it and might even return all the stuff they borrowed. Hey It Could Happen! (if you don’t have any friends, I’ll step up for the low low price of just $5/week)
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