Kids Cook Too

Betty Crocker coverBetty Crocker’s Cook Book for Boys and Girls

Submitter: We pride ourselves on having an up to date collection.   Unfortunately while trying to find a cookbook for a reluctant reader who loves cooking, I found this atrocity.  Granted it is a reprint from 2003, but there have been no updates since its original publish date of 1957.  Shame on us for still having this book, especially since it has checked out in the last 2 years.

Holly: Why on earth would they reprint a 1957 cookbook in 2003 with the same cover and no updates?  This screams 1957.  I wonder if they include recipes with Spry?


Betty Crocker cake

Betty Crocker pigs in blankets


  1. I believe this was reprinted for those of us who grew up with it, not for its function but for nostalgia.

    Why the library bought it is another matter.

  2. Really? I think that book looks *awesome*. I’d read it! Retro’s really in now.

    My one concern would be that some of the ingredients would no longer be available.

  3. I believe those are “fun” reissues — someone gave me a couple, because you know, people who collect mid-century stuff like reproductions? New Betty Crocker cookbooks for the tots have “kids” in the title.

  4. My goodness, if you weed this book, instead send it to me! My mom has the original Betty Crocker cookbook with the donut recipe in it, and sealed those particular pages between wax paper to protect it from grease spatters. My reprint does not have some of these classic recipes, and that makes me so sad! Love those oh so delicious looking pigs in a blanket! Maybe it is outdated but I love that vintage look!

  5. I used this book when it was new–in 1957. I think it was a present, and it was the coolest thing ever. My mother and I made the drum cake together. So dated–sigh

  6. After only reading the publication information and before seeing that it was a reprint, I could have sworn there was some mistake; there’s no way that cover came from a 2003 book!

    How lazy (or cheap) could the publishers be to not put at least a little effort into updating a 56 year old cookbook when reprinting it?

  7. I want this book! I started collecting the various editions and reprints of the Betty Crocker and the Better Homes and Gardens Junior Cookbooks a few years ago. They are a riot!

  8. What an oldie…..most young people today would think that the egg beater on the cover is a torture implement from the “Saw” movies…

  9. I have to say, I did enjoy learning the difference between a “wiener” and a “frankfurter” in this post.

  10. omg. I learned to cook with this book, which I loved when I was 10. I’m 59 now. I can’t believe they have not updated the content or the pictures — or the testers! All those kids can easily be nearing retirement now.

  11. @Jami–Ah, but the American Girls have their own cookbooks! (Although I think they might be out of print now, despite not being very old.)

    I won’t lie, I kind of want this book. Old cookbooks are fun, especially the ones with pictures.

  12. Those scans are all hilarious. The testers inane/insightly soundbites, gratuitous tin soldier marching bands, questionable ketchup bottle holders and MORE MORE MORE!!!!

  13. I had a copy of this book as a kid. I even remember the little line drawing of Eric. Seems to me there’s a recipe for popovers that I *begged* my mom to let me cook.

    Ahh nostalgia.

  14. My guess is that they didn’t change it because the recipes still work. A cake is a cake. A hot dog is a hot dog.

    I still use my old Betty Crocker cookbook. The basics for how long to hard-boil an egg and what temperature to use for a baked potato are still valid, even if the pictures weren’t taken in one of “today’s” kitchens with stainless steel appliances.

  15. Ditto, Barry, except I made (and still do) the French toast from this book. It’s hardly an “atrocity!”

  16. Oh my goodness, my mother gave me the original cookbook (from her childhood!) when I was a kid, and I still have it, though it’s falling apart. My mom made the Ice Cream Cone cupcakes for my birthday at some point. Ahhh memories!

  17. If, as the poster says, people are checking it out. What’s the problem?

    If I came across this book at the Boston Public Library, I might have checked it out. It looks interesting as a history of past cooking. Retro and cool.

    Quirky books like this are what make browsing so wonderful and important. A patron would be in the cook book section and stumble across this. Yes they came for a modern cook book, but will also walk away with a fun additional book to remissness, amuse themselves, or whatever they want to do with it. Don’t strip your collections of the fun things, even if its not fun to you. Unless space is that dire, then it should go.

  18. I know if I was to have bought this book in 2003 as a reprint I wouldn’t have wanted anything changed! A book like this is for nostalgia, or what food was like when. If you want current and workable recipes, you buy something from the latest TV chef. I collect old cookbooks, and even as a reprint, this would be neat!

  19. I had this when it first came out – and I found the reprint in my local bookstore and bought it literally last week. And I’m glad they didn’t update the recipes – I’ve been missing “Hot Fudge Pudding” and now I can make it again!

  20. I agree with Robert. It’s obvious this book was reprinted for fun, nostalgia purposes. Even if only some of the recipes are still usable, others will like it for the retro feel, or the retro pictures, or because they actually once owned an original of this book, and other reasons posters have mentioned.

    Keep in mind also that one of the ways young people learn about recent history is through books like this. This is one way kids and young adults learn how people dressed, what they ate, what words were in popular usage, and what level of technology had been reached. I probably never would have noticed the 1940’s if I hadn’t ordered some old radio show tapes to keep my attention at work in my 20’s. I was very ignorant about the era and WWII in general before I got them. I didn’t get all the jokes the comedians were making regarding the war or other references to the war, so I started researching it so I could understand the jokes. Before I knew it I was generally knowlegeable about WWII and the 40’s, and it was no hardship.

    Please don’t weed everything fun and interesting from your library. A good library must have up-to-date information, but it can’t be all serious and dry. There have to be some surprises, too.

  21. @Leigha – That’s my point though. People are always riding the popularity of others. So with the American Girls being so popular they even have their own cookbooks, I’m sure they thought to republish this in hopes to ride the wave.

  22. I had a mid-70s reprint of this book, and I always wanted to make the castle-shaped cake with the chocolate bar drawbridge.

    The reason those kids’ faces are in there is because psychology has shown that children are more likely to believe they can do something when they see other children doing something than when parents tell them they can do something.

    Seriously, this is a good, useful book that trusts kids to be able to actually do things, unlike modern books that seem to think children need to be coddled.

  23. I have the original 1957 cookbook which was the first cookbook I used in the kitchen. I loved many of the recipes and delighted in pulling it out to cook treats for my two children. My daughter loved cooking from it when she was 5. Interestingly, there is a current book – can’t remember the name at the moment – written by Jerry Seinfeld’s wife – which uses the style of type and illustrations directly lifted from this book. I have that book too. My kids are 22 and 19 and they get most of their recipes off the internet but they love to cook! H

  24. Granted the book looks outdated, but recipes are easy to follow and written for those beginning cooks who haven’t a clue. Maybe you should try making one of the recipes instead of mocking them. May I suggest the sugar cookies or scrambled eggs?

  25. Awwww. I had the original of this cookbook, which I was made to get rid of when the family moved, along with loads of other stuff I’d supposedly outgrown. There’s a lot of that stuff I wish I still owned, and this is included.

    But I don’t want a modern reprint. The real thing or nothing!

  26. Holy Hamburgs!! This is the same book I had as a child. My grandmother bought it for me one birthday. That was in the early 1960’s. SAME book. I loved then; I wouldn’t buy now.

  27. I think I need this cookbook. I have a soft spot for 1940s-1950s nonfiction books of all sorts. Even as a little kid I probably would have picked it up. But I often read older books because I was interested in the time period. I can see this book being a problem for a reluctant reader who might be turned off by the dated quality of the illustrations.

  28. Yeah, I’m not seeing a major problem here. A library definitely shouldn’t have this instead of a more up-to-date children’s cookbook that takes into account today’s preferences, products, and equipment, but in addition to, if space allows, it seems fine. It might do better in the adult section, however, since most of the audience is probably people who had it as children.

  29. I still have the 1956 copy of this book at home, too. I learned how to cook with it, and I can remember opening many times for the French Toast recipe. I also remember some of the recipes struck me as faintly ridiculous even back then. Does it still have the ‘salad’ made of a pineapple ring with a half banana standing up in the hole?

  30. I used to work at a bookstore and I thought this was cute. They also reissued the cooky book around the same time and I bought that one for my mom because it had happy memories associated with it. Plus the copy my mom had some pages stuck together and my crayon doodles all over some of the recipes.

    Though I can’t figure out why they called it a cooky cookbook not a cookie cookbook.

  31. My family owns a Betty Crocker cookbook–the cover doesn’t look exactly like that and the inside is similar style. We also have a party planning book from the same era. Has all sorts of old games and ideas. Actually have made some of the recipes. We even used the party book for one of my parties years ago. I’m only 26. We also have an old Betty Crocker cookbook for adults–I think it’s from the 70’s.

    Someone could have a retro party!

  32. FYI: The Internet Archive has this cookbook (

    Adding to what others have said (notably Robert, maggie, and Leslie) — Vintage cookbooks like this one have recipes that people’s parents and grandparents used. Even if an updated version of the same cookbook has a recipe for meatloaf, it may not be the same meatloaf recipe. Later editors change recipes to suit what they perceive as current tastes and trends. And, cookbooks like this one have dozens of traditional American recipes that are no longer included in more current cookbooks. Thus, a few vintage cookbooks do have a place on the shelves in community libraries.

  33. We have Better Homes & Gardens kids cookbooks from the 80s that still check out quite a bit. Their graphic design are so well done- I think that’s what attracts the kids to them.

  34. @Krista – I never made it, but I remember that one, only it was called a “Saturday” – there was some ’70s animation in the Timer style – – it might’ve even had Timer in it – where it was made with a pineapple ring, half a banana, cottage cheese, and somehow they balanced a grape on top.

    Looked disgusting even as an animation.

    Also, I agree with whomever said to move it to the adult section. Obviously grown ups want to use this book. Myself included!

  35. @Krista: Is this the one you were thinking of? I’m more curious about the banana/apple affair in the lower left of the spread…

  36. I had the 1957 ed. of this cookbook. It was a gift. I wore it out & was delighted just a few years ago to find another 1957 ed. still in good shape via eBay. I’ve made many of the recipes in this cookbook. My kids always enjoyed the cake in the ice cream cones.

  37. Ny favorite cookbook as a child. Now I’m going to have to seach the house ’til I find it!

  38. I think it’s great & the instructions are very clear. I am from the UK & I think the kids look so American in it (obviously of course)! English kids would look very different & the recipes would have been less interesting in the UK in 1957.
    Shame it was weeded, I imagine it would be used from an adult section of the library for the reasons others have mentioned.

  39. I have this book from my childhood. My daughter and I have used the French Toast recipe as the basis for our breakfast efforts. I also have handwritten notes on the Meat Loaf recipe, tips I got from my grandmother: bay leaves, chili sauce, and small squares of bacon on top. Yum, bacon! However, my children did reject my Tuna Fish Cassarole as hopelessly dated, followed by my mother’s beef stew. We live near Berkeley so it is not surprising that my kids are foodies. They spent Spring Break in southern France cooking with a former Chez Panisse chef. I had a chance to visit a very small French public library. The one librarian and I communicated in single words and sign language to communicate our enthusiasm for the library. The problem with weeding is that I look at the book, want to read it, and wonder why no one else checked it out, “Look at this mystery! It looks brand new. Looks interesting. Can I find time to read it before it is deaccessioned and relegated to the “Friends of the Library” dollar sale?

  40. Must. Find. Now. Hoping some estate sale in the near future can provide me with this gem. Love vintage cook books. I have a slew of them and some recipes are fun in execution. I agree with AA, looking through some vintage 50s/60s book as a kid made me want to learn all about the era. probably explains why I am such a retro/vintage junkie now.

  41. I loved this book as a child growing up in the 60s. I checked it from the school library countless times. I thought I was so sophisticated making the candle salad and that drum cake was my unfulfilled dream.

    I just ordered it off eBay, after reading these comments. I’ll have it next week! Maybe I’ll make that drum cake for Christmas this year.

  42. I still have this from when I was a kid in the 70s. It was dated then but I LOVED it. Now I am going to have to go find it wherever it’s hiding in the house. lol

  43. I own this book, and I love it!
    The amazing, Day-Glo illustrations are fantastic, but my favorite part are the hilariously sexist comments in the book.
    One of the boy tasters carefully explains that it’s okay for boys to like cooking, since it’s like science that you can eat.
    Another one of the girls talks about baking a cake for when Daddy comes home.
    It’s a total scream! I wouldn’t want them to change a thing for the re-issue. This is a part of history.

  44. This was my first cookbook. I don’t know where it is now, but I make Cream Cheese Scrambled Eggs all the time.

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