A long time ago, my mom gave me a Betty Crocker cookbook. I never understood why. It was as if this was my passport to “America”: the place that represented the manifest destiny for immigrants in the United States. The Betty Crocker cookbook was my survival kit.
Every recipe tested by Betty. Who was Betty? In the 70s I thought Rosalind Carter was Betty. In the 80s 90s maybe it was Mrs. Bush. She was the ultimate white woman who would make sure the other white people wouldn’t be mean, no one would be micro– aggressively handling you, she would even save you from racist cops mistreating you. Betty was the ultimate white liberal savior that would save you from making that faux pas at the kitchen table and beyond.
I don’t know if that was General Mills’ plan. But Betty would just whisper: “My dear, make these recipes, learn these tricks and everything’s going to be okay.”
Today, I’m going to the home of Betty Crocker. I wonder if she is going to be there waiting for me. If she’s going to have more tips. Maybe she can has a recipe to deal with injustice or heartbreak or what to do when you are trying to bring people together, maybe there’s a new book. I hope she remembers the little teenager who read her pages religiously – hers was the first manual I had to learn to understand the United States.
This is not a glorious nostalgic memory. Betty’s recipes not the tastiest, or the spiciest. They didn’t replace grandmas’. But, they didn’t taste like… Mom’s. Wait, a minute, they did. What’s going on here? Betty! Betty! Betty? I have some questions!