Cookbooks That Never Let You Down

I think that all cooks have one old school, go-to cookbook that they've used a million times and know that regardless of what they make from that book, it always works. I'm not talking about fancy books with lots of photos or challenging recipes, but rather those that house standard American cuisine and include foolproof recipes for simple dishes like roast beef, chicken pot pie, or chocolate cake. Some people swear by The Joy of Cooking for this, while for others it's The New York Times Cookbook or The Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, but for me, it is Betty Crocker’s Cookbook.

My first copy, the splattered, dog eared version I still turn to today, was given to me as a gift by my ex-boyfriend's mother when I was in college and had recently announced to the world my plans to become a professional chef. When I unwrapped it, I snickered to myself and scoffed at the dated book. Didn't this woman realize that I was off to the greatest culinary school in the country? I was going to be burying myself in books about classic French cuisine and learning to make mushroom veloute and coq au vin, not fussing with recipes requiring canned cream of mushroom soup or making chicken and dumplings.

So I stashed the book away, fully expecting to get rid of it at a later date so that I could make room for what would eventually become a cookbook collection that boasted close to 1000 titles. But alas, today, 21 years later, with my cookbook collection as vast as I had earlier envisioned, I walked straight over to the American cuisine section of my well organized library, and pulled Betty Crocker’s Cookbook out, as I've done numerous times before. I still shy away from the canned soup recipes in the book, but do find it to be a good point of reference for many other things.

Today it was the recipe for dinner rolls that I sought out. I've tried a million different recipes for basic dinner rolls, but few come out as tender and light as these and few create a dough as versatile. Tonight, I decided to make them into garlic-cloverleaf rolls that are made by rolling small pieces of dough into olive sized balls and then placing three of the balls into the cups of a buttered muffin pan. Before baking, I slather the rolls in butter and sprinkle them generously with granulated garlic and coarse sea salt. As always, they were perfect.

Sure, I love my fancier cookbooks, and certainly derive a great deal more creative inspiration from them, but when it comes to the standards, I know that there will always be a spot for Betty on my bookshelf.

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            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
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            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
            • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
            • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
            • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Online Courses
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
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            Lackawanna College is the premier, private, accredited two-year college serving the people of northeastern Pennsylvania. With a focus on keeping higher education affordable and accessible to our immediate community, Lackawanna draws 80 percent of its student population right from our own region.

            With a main campus situated in downtown Scranton, Lackawanna’s expanding footprint also includes satellite centers in Hawley, Hazleton, New Milford, and Towanda.

            1 Program(s) Found
            • Preparing individuals for career opportunities, technology training, and certifications for the medical, culinary arts, HVAC repair, legal, and cosmetology fields since 1934.
            • Has many lecture classes with a maximum of a 30:1 student to teacher ratio, and most lab classes with a maximum of an 18:1 student to teacher ratio.
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Council of Independent Colleges and Schools.
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            • A part of the Select Education Group (SEG).
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            • Accredited
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            • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
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