Saturday, May 28, 2011

Betty Crocker's Outdoor Cook Book; Good 'N Easy Potato Salad

Betty Crocker's Outdoor Cook BookIt's Memorial Day Weekend, and with Memorial Day Weekend comes summer, gatherings with friends, picnics, barbeques, and all sorts of outdoorsy goodness. That, plus Chefly Husband's newly-started blog (Mastering Wine) has inspired me to grab a cookbook, dream of dishes fascinating and horrifying, and type away.

Welcoming us back into the fold is Betty Crocker's Outdoor Cook Book, illustrated by Tom Funk, © 1961 by General Mills, Inc. This is a great hard cover, spiral bound gem with two-color silly illustrations and four-color glossy pictures of stylish 60s folk, cooking outside. There is a facsimile edition available, but my copy is first edition.

I knew I wanted the first recipe up to be a potato salad recipe, as potato salad and Memorial Day just go together for me. But... which one? Potato Salad, Good 'N Easy Potato Salad, or Potato Salad For A Crowd? Chefly Husband suggested "whichever one doesn't have yellow mustard, because yellow mustard is disgusting."

He has many fine qualities.

And I like yellow mustard.

But I'm leaning towards "disgusting" anyway.
Good 'N Easy Potato Salad

1 pkg. Betty Crocker Scalloped Potatoes
3 cups water
2 tbsp. butter
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. prepared mustard
2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped

Empty potatoes into saucepan. Add 3 cups water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 15 min. Rinse with cold water; drain throughly. Put in bowl, cover, and chill. Melt butter. Blend in contents of seasoning pkg. Add 2/3 cup water all at once. Heat over medium heat until mixture boils, stirring constantly. cover and chill. (Lumps are onion pieces.) When cold, blend mayonnaise and mustard into sauce. Fold into potatoes and eggs. 4 servings.
Any time a recipe has to tell you that what you're looking at is intentional and vaguely vegetal, back away slowly...

This may well taste very good. Lord knows I'm not opposed to cooking shortcuts. But if you're going to take the time to hard-cook eggs (and, let's take a moment for three cheers, for Betty Crocker calls 'em as they are: hard cooked, not hard boiled), then you can take the time to boil your own potatoes. Heck, you can boil them in the same pot as your eggs. One pot! One boil! Then you'd be able to identify your own lumps.

As for the mustard issue -- yes, I use yellow prepared mustard in my potato salad. You can use your favorite mustard, be it Dijon or brown or horseradishy, but to be truly 1960s vintage scary, use the yellow mustard, and the boxed potatoes.

If nothing else, file this one away for your next Mad Men theme party. Betty Draper would have had this cookbook.


  1. Gotta have the prepared yellow mustard in potato salad. That's what I grew up with.

  2. I love yellow mustard. I really do.

  3. I object to the moniker "salad" for this concoction

  4. Remember: this cookbook is from the early 60s, and molded Jell-o also counted as salad...