Ellen Clifford
December 20, 2014 7:45 am

Can I just tell you how much I adore the old-school Betty Crocker’s Cookbook? Of course I can. I CAN AND I WILL. I love that it isn’t just “The Betty Crocker Cookbook”. Oh no, it is Crocker’s. Hers. My old and tattered edition is the one I grew up with in my parents’ kitchen. My mom gladly passed it on to me when I shipped off to California and she purchased the updated Crocker edition. But I love the old one. I can’t even tell you what year it came out because the page with that information is gone. But based on its state of tatter I am guessing this sucker is from the ’60s, maybe the 70s. We may never know.

When this cookbook was published, Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom was a pantry staple and Jell-o molds were the height of elegance. Although as a vegetarian I cannot consume gelatin, I love molded food. Certainly more than moldy food (ha!). The height of elegance is what many of these recipes aspire to, yet in these days spaghetti casseroles are considered camp-y, if not gauche. It makes me wonder if someday we will laugh at those daffy old ladies who are clinging to their cronuts and kale salad. “How sweet,” we’ll say, laughing at them while we eat powdered air or some such newfangled innovation.

Despite the kitsch, and some recipes that sound downright terrifying (Creamed Sweetbreads, anyone?), there are some really solid recipes in there, which is why I cling to my cookbook despite the fact that the front cover is no longer attached and the pages are textured from all the spills and splatters. This is the cookbook that taught me to make cake and pie. Of course, it is also the cookbook from which one can learn handy tips like “When a man eats in a restaurant he’s very apt to order the chiffon pie on the menu.” Snort.

I thought a traditional cookbook would be a good place to find a traditional recipe, and seeing as it is eggnog season I thought I’d whip up a batch. Unlike last week’s recipe it is not even remotely vegan, I’m afraid. It is served up with that adorable bit of wit n’ whimsy I expect from my pal Betty. It also is served up with that trademark “elegance” of hers. In fact the note beneath the title of this Spoon-Up Eggnog is “Can eggnog be elegant? Just try this one and see.”

Being a singleton without Betty actually being there to help me eat, I reduced this recipe to serve one hungry person. I also tried a hack on it that I think Betty would be into, seeing as she loves her convenience foods. The original recipe calls for whipped cream, and I used Cool Whip. SO gauche. So VERY Betty. The rule of thumb is that cream will whip up to about twice it’s volume, so instead of 1/2 cup whipping cream I used one cup of Cool Whip. I suppose since the Cool Whip is sweetened I could have reduced the sweetener in the recipe but I did not. But you know what? It was great. So there.

One last note or two about this recipe. If you fear salmonella, use pasteurized eggs. If you fear not being merry or festive, I recommend sipping with company or while perusing some funny stuff on Hello Giggles. Lastly, it is rather intoxicating all told, but tastes relatively innocent, so if you have to drive, either leave out the booze or sip with your favorite designated driver. Or do what I did which was whip this up at around 1am when I was home for the night. Whip it good! Sorry, I just had to go there. . .enjoy!

Spoon-Up Eggnog adapted from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook

  • 1 egg, separated
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 2 Tbsp. golden rum (I used Appleton Estate. Or if you want to omit, toss in a dash of rum extract,vanilla or even almond extract).
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream, whipped (measure it then whip it) OR use 1 cup Cool Whip
  • nutmeg, to sprinkle

Beat the egg white until stiff. In a separate bowl beat the yolk and sugar a lonnnnng time until the mixture is light yellow and fluffy, and the sugar mostly dissolved. Fold the whipped cream into the yolk mixture, then gently fold in the egg white. Put in a charming cup or bowl and chill. I put mine in the freezer for a couple hours. When ready to eat, feel free to put some more whipped cream on top, and don’t skip sprinkling the nutmeg on top! It really makes this. Eat with a spoon and make light banter with your imaginary Betty.

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