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.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • 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
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            • Transferable Credits
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
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            Good for Working Adults
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            • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Ranked the 13th  Best College for Veterans in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • A private institution founded in 1977 with a current total undergraduate enrollment of over 15,00.
            • Its student-faculty ratio is 12:1, and 89.3% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
            • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
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            4 Program(s) Found
            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
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            1 Program(s) Found

            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.

            2 Program(s) Found
            • Students get real-world experience through the required externship at the end of the program.
            • Curriculum includes laboratory sessions, academic preparation and hands-on experience.
            • Program objectives are to provide students with skills needed for cooking wholesome, attractive, food preparations and to assist graduates in obtaining positions in the food service industry.
            • Accredited by the American Culinary Federation (ACF).
            • Has campuses in Melbourne, Sarasota, and Tallahassee, Florida
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            2 Program(s) Found
            • Instructors are typically real-world professionals with many years of experience in their career fields.
            • Ranked #3 in Best for Vets: Career & Technical Colleges 2014 by Military Times.
            • Presents the full tuition cost up front. In most cases, even textbooks are included in the total price.
            • Provides career services associates to help students review their resume, provide career counseling, help with job searches, and more.
            • Has 27 campus locations across the southern United States, plus offers online degree programs.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
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