I didn't choose Betty. She chose me.

I didn't choose Betty. She chose me.
The Betty Crocker Kitchens 1940

Monday, December 8, 2014

Oh Domestic Science no one appreciates you enough!

7th December 1964: From left to right, Susan Andrews, Christine Brain, Jennifer Paxton and Judy Evans, four pupils of the Clarendon School in South Oxhey, Hertfordshire display the Christmas cakes they have designed and created in their Domestic Science class

West High School domestic science class 1926 | Denver Public Library 

For my book Finding Betty Crocker I did a lot of research on the Domestic Science and Home Economics Movements and some days, I just feel so nostalgic for the good ol' days that I never actually experienced - save for a 6th grade home ec unit that strikes me as some sort of dream now.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Vintage cake Ads

It's a toss up if you ask me - kissin' cake sounds good, but so does Betty Crocker's Pineapple Festival Cake. Notice what color Betty ISN'T wearing?

Monday, January 20, 2014

History Day Requests about Betty Crocker

I get so many History Day requests about Betty Crocker that if I responded to all of them, it would be my full-time job. (And certainly one without pay!)

So suffice to say, no I cannot and will not help you with your child's History Day project. I really wish I could, but it's probably better this way. Because, you see, I wrote an exhaustive book on the subject and you can buy it or check it out of your local library.

But that doesn't mean I can't help you with something a bit more important...

Years ago, when I was still helping parents (because actual History Day students never contacted me, it was always the parents doing the work), they would claim to have read my book, but then all their questions showed me that they hadn't read the book at all. Imagine how disappointed you would feel if you were me? I did over seven years of extensive research and writing, went through the agonizing editing process and endless promotions and then parents lie to me about reading it and try to con me into doing the work for their children.

So here's my advice to all you History Day Parents that will make you a better parent and possibly a more enlightened human being:

1) Pick a more unique topic than Betty Crocker. Because Betty is an example used by History Day organizers, literally thousands upon thousands of students have done their projects on Betty Crocker. Explain to your child that he/she can do better.

2) Your child should be doing the research and reading. Not you. You can point them in the right direction, but really, it's cheating when you are doing the vast majority of the work. Shame on you! And shame on me for helping dozens of parents before realizing this.

3) If your child's heart is set on Betty Crocker, there is nothing preventing him or her from contacting General Mills and asking them about their iconic brand. Why are people so afraid of corporations? I've met dozens of truly lovely people at General Mills. And guess what? Most of them are parents just like you, who want to see their children do well in school.

4) Be grateful to anyone who helps your child with their research. I can't tell you how many parents never thanked me for going the extra mile. This is also an important lesson to impart on your children.

5) Brainstorm with your child about unique approaches to doing research. When I wrote my book on Betty Crocker there was no book on her history. I had to piece it together from primary and secondary resources. I had to conduct my own research.  For example,  I literally conducted 100s of oral history interviews. This is an excellent lesson for a young student to learn. I wish someone had taught me this when I was their age.  It's extremely empowering. You look at the world differently when you realize you can conduct your own research, generate your own results, listen to people tell their stories and preserve them.

So there you have it - my tough love policy to History Day parents. Now pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start being a good role model for your children - one that doesn't cheat!

PS If you are personally connected with me, the answer is still no.  And if you want me to appear on camera to talk for your school project about Betty Crocker the answer is also no. But I wish you the best of luck with all your academic pursuits!