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« A Mother, A Daughter, and A Cup of Coffee | Main | A Quote for The Edit »
Wednesday
Jan232013

Being Betty Crocker

Betty CrockerI am no Betty Crocker. I get out the brownie mix. Set it on the counter. Look at the directions. Three steps. I can do this. Water, eggs, and vegetable oil. But I need a bowl. I open the cabinet where I keep my mixing bowls. I have way too many bowls for somebody who rarely mixes anything but her metaphors. I do brownies, and cupcakes. I tried to bake a cake one time for my daughter’s birthday. It wasn’t a very pretty pony.

There will come a day when I will bake something that doesn't come in a box. I want to bake like my mom. Like Betty Crocker. Why is it that I have had four children and have very little ability to bake anything that doesn't come in a box? Who was Betty Crocker anyway, and why can’t I be more like her? So I Googled "Betty Crocker", to discover how to become more like her. I was flabbergasted. It turns out Betty Crocker never even existed. According to one website, "In the 1910's, The Washburn Crosby Company received thousands of requests for answers to baking questions. In 1921, managers decided that it would be more intimate to sign the responses personally; they combined the last name of a retired company executive, William Crocker, with the first name “Betty,” which was thought of as “warm and friendly.”

I am horrified and liberated at the same time. Betty Crocker wasn't real. I am free from the guilt of trying to be someone, that never lived.

The oven is preheating, the air filling with the aroma of a remnant from last week’s cupcakes stuck to the bottom of the oven. I like to refer to this as re-baking. It will go away in a minute.

The 8x8 square pan sits on my counter, the pack of instant brownie powder resting limp over its lip like a slumbering sack of possibility. The eggs are still in the refrigerator. The vegetable oil in the cabinet. But it’s a start. I will bake. But until then I will sit with this moment at my computer with an unexpected peace that I no longer need worry that I'm not like Betty. Now I focus on how to bake more like my mom.

 

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