Dear Betty Crocker,
I’ve never written a love letter to someone I’ve never met before, and definitely not to a processed food brand (who is not even a real person!*), but there’s a first time for everything, don’t you think?
(*You may – or may not – be shocked to learn that BC was a character created to make women feel more comfortable about receiving baking advice from a man, reverse sexism, anyone? Nope, just the regular kind because the actual advice came from female workers at Gold Medal Flour company, but the department manager who would’ve signed it was of course a man. So, Betty Crocker was “born” in 1921. But for the purposes of this post, I shall feign ignorance of these facts.)
So Betty, while you may not be the first, or the best, but for whatever reason your gluten free box mixes (and don’t even get me started on your tubs of frosting) have saved me time and time again. The gratitude I feel for you is bigger than the list of additives on your nutritional panel. Let me explain.
When my daughter Bunky was diagnosed with celiac two and a half years ago, I was overwhelmed to say the least. But once my girl got the shine back in her eyes and gained some weight, I knew it was time to get baking again. But one look at the laundry list of GF flours – garbanzo, rice, teff, millet, tapioca, buckwheat, sorghum, and I just sorta froze up.
This is where you come in, dear pretend Betty. Before I was ready to make my own flour blends and from scratch cupcakes, some angel told me about YOU. My eyes lit up when I saw that trademark red spoon with your name written across in swirly white font and just below, the new words of my life: Gluten Free.
Random Fact: The original signature came from a secretary who won a contest among employees and is still used today. (I’d really like to think she was adequately compensated, but you and I both know that’s probably not likely.)
Since my humble GF journey began, you have expanded your product line (smart lady, you know where the money is) to include not just yellow and chocolate cake, but brownies, chocolate chip cookies, sugar cookies, and even your own (nutritionally deficient but I’m sure highly effective) gluten free flour blend. You go, girl. You GO. And I love your new hip retro look these days. Pretty sweet improvement from your marketing team.
Truth time here, Betty. You’re not exactly a health food, you know? It’s all white rice this and potato starch that, not to mention a handful of chemical thingies to keep stuff moist and Betty Crocker-ish, but still. You have saved me many a time. Birthday parties, last minute school cupcakes, rainy day blues. I say your name and it’s all good. Eggs, butter, water, mix, and bam. Instant gratification.
This beauty was made, in part, by YOU.
The frosting above is not yours, but rather a homemade chocolate ganache. That said, your GF frosting tubs might even be MORE life saving than your box mixes. Now that I’m more comfortable in my GF shoes, I can whip up homemade cakes kinda quickly. I like controlling what kind of flour and how much sugar, and yada yada. But let me tell you, by the time I’m done sweating it out and doing all that work, I am usually in NO mood to contemplate a homemade frosting.
Do I really want to dirty ONE more freaking bowl? Nope. Do I want to clean out the keys, paperwork, pens, random toys, and dust bunnies out of my electric stand mixer? (The mixer is our junk drawer. Don’t judge. It’s city living, people.) Um, that would be a resounding NO. So, who saves me from despair in moments like these?
That’s right, Betty. You know who. It’s YOU.
That frosting, let me just admit this straight up – is GOOD. Not good for you, by any means (no offense) but it’s lick it off the spoon when your kid isn’t looking GOOD. It’s dip some GF graham crackers in it GOOD. I try not to pay attention to the fact that I can’t pronounce half of the ingredients (sodium stearoyl lactylate, anyone?). Who cares when you do all the heavy lifting for me? Sure, a homemade ganache is pretty awesome, and a simple buttercream is not rocket science, but really. Who. Has. The. Time. Me? Not so much.
Yeah, Duncan Hines is in on it, too. But my loyalty lies (mostly) with you. Except for those times when I think I’m buying you and I accidentally grab DH. The packaging looks pretty similar, don’t you think? Maybe your trademark people should get on that. I just have your best interests in mind, my friend.
So, thank you Betty (and um, Duncan H), for making my GF life a little bit easier. Without you I’d be knee deep in dirty dishes and perpetually out of butter. You even have GF recipes on your website, and butter substitutions for those dairy compromised folks, bless your heart.
Sure, if we used you ALL the time my family would probably be obese and potentially diabetic, but all things in moderation. Right?
Love from one of your biggest GF mom fans,
Dana @ celiac kiddo
Please tell me I’m not the only one who leans on Betty here and there. What is your favorite box mix? Do you feel liberated or disgusted by the bounty of GF processed foods out there? What is your favorite way to bake-cheat?