More than 65 million copies of Betty Crocker have sold.
I own dozens of cookbooks and often sit down and read them just for pleasure. One thing I've learned is that some authors of cookbooks are better writers than they are cooks. Their recipes never seem to quite measure up, even though the descriptions (and photographs) they provide are often wonderful. On the other hand, there are other cookbook writers who both write well and deliver good results in the kitchen.
There are three cookbooks that I especially like for those reasons. I believe that they are essential additions to my kitchen, and to the kitchen bookshelf of any home chef. If you know a new or inquisitive home chef, they will appreciate receiving one of these as a Christmas gift:
Although Betty Crocker is really a test kitchen, the people at General Mills introduced "Betty" in 1921 under the direction of a wonderful and wonderfully real chef named Marjorie Husted. Since Marjorie and Betty emerged on the scene, General Mills has sold more than 65 million copies of "Betty's" books in 11 editions.
There are three reasons I value my Betty Crocker Cookbooks. First, the instructions provided are always clear and never hard to understand; this is quite an accomplishment since more than 1,500 recipes are provided. Second, the ingredients required for these recipes are, in most cases, already on your kitchen shelves; you won't have to make a special trip to the grocery store to find an exotic ingredient. Third, Betty Crocker Cookbooks are comprehensive books that provide recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus; in short, it can serve as the only cookbook you would ever need.
For home chefs who look to vegetables as the main fare for their families, the Moosewood Cookbook is an absolute must. Since the publication of the first Moosewood Cookbook in 1977, author Mollie Katzen has led the revolution in American eating habits away from red meat and toward vegetable alternatives. One of the top ten best-selling series of cookbooks of all time, the Moosewood books are a delight to read, use ingredients that are readily available and, best of all, help cooks produce tasty, unique, and satisfying food that the pickiest of eaters will enjoy.
My hands down favorite baking book is Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours.In this highly readable, really interesting baking book, Greenspan applies lessons from three decades of experience to her first and real love: home baking. The book's 300 recipes, each spectacular, are producible in almost any kitchen and, while sometimes challenging, are all the proof you need that you can bake along side the best bakers. If you buy one book on baking, I hope you'll make it Baking: From My Home to Yours.
Each of these books are available in time for Christmas at Amazon.com, and better bookstores everywhere.