Betty Crocker Coupons

Someone sent me a Plugger cartoon this past week. It was a lady Plugger, wearing an apron and stirring something in a bowl. The caption underneath said: “You’re a Plugger if you’re still using the Good Housekeeping Cookbook you got as a wedding present in 1966.”

My first thought was, “That’s me,” although my first wedding was in 1967 not 1966. And the cookbook in question, the one my mother gave me, was actually the Betty Crocker one rather than Good Housekeeping.

All these years later, it’s tattered and torn, of course, and some of the pages are ragged and food stained, but I still use it, and I’ll be using it again this year in the lead up to Thanksgiving.

My mother, Evie Busk, made terrific pumpkin pies, and so do I—because I use the same recipe—the one from the Betty Crocker Cookbook. It has just the right amount of spices, which is to say, not too much of anything.

I’ll be the first to admit that I cheat. When I make pies, I come up with the filling, but the truth is, when it comes to crusts, I use Pillsbury premade ones fresh from the grocery store. As long as the filling is good, no one has the slightest idea that I didn’t make the pie crust.

But right now, I’d like to talk about how that cookbook came to be in my possession. Evie Busk was nothing if not thrifty, and she saved everything. She saved buttons and rags—which she tore into strips, sewed together, and then shipped rolls of sewed together strips to a lady who wove them into rag rugs. (By the way, I hated shaking those rag rugs when it came to doing Saturday morning chores.)

Evie did her major grocery shopping at Safeway on Wednesdays because that was double stamp day. When it came to Gold Bond Stamps, she was dead serious. The same held true for Betty Crocker coupons from cereal boxes and bags of flour. With seven kids to feed, trust me, there were lots of cereal boxes coming and going, and the coupons from those went into the bottom of the silverware drawer, accumulating until there were enough of them to order something from the Betty Crocker Catalog.

That’s where my cookbook came from as well as my sisters’ —from those coupons. Shortly after I married my first husband, my mother gifted us with my first set of Betty Crocker Oneida Stainless flatware. Those disappeared somewhere in the course of my moves back and forth between Arizona and Washington State.

When Bill and I got married in 1985, Evie presented us with service for twelve. When we bought the place in Tucson in 2001, like mother like daughter, I used my own Betty Crocker coupons to purchase another service for twelve in the same pattern.

Now we have service for 24 which is really handy when holidays come around because the barebones family dinner head count ends up being seventeen. For most of my time on this planet almost every bite of food has come to me via the Betty Crocker stainless steel flatware purchased with Betty Crocker coupons.

Evie Busk has been gone since 2005, but she’s with us in our home and hearts every time we sit down to eat a meal.

So thank you Evie, and thanks to Betty Crocker, too.

You’ve made every meal a celebration.

PS. Hours after writing this, I remembered a poem from After the Fire. It’s something I wrote in the early eighties when I was at my lowest ebb and when I only did my grocery shopping on double stamp days. It’s called The Collector.

I like the green ones best.
I count them up as any miser would
And watch them grow with satisfaction,
For they are the tangible symbol
Of what is processed here –
Toilet paper, lettuce, pork and beans.
The taxes must be paid in cash.
God knows there’s precious little of that.
Some say trading stamps are going out of style.
I’ll collect them till I die.
At least it’s something I do well.

Yes, Evie, neither one of us knew it at the time, but I really was paying attention.

39 thoughts on “Betty Crocker Coupons

  1. I too was gifted a Betty Crocker cookbook from my Mother aquired with coupons. It’s had much use, stained, taped together and all. It’s precious to me for a lot of memories, but mostly because my Mom gave it to me.

    • ? My Betty Crocker cookbook was the original one one with the red cover published in the 50s, and my stainless pattern was “Twinkle Star “. I still use the cookbook and have a few odd pieces of the stainless left. The banana bread and sugar cookie recipes are the best. Everyone I knew saved the coupons and treasured them.

    • I have that one, too. 1968. Kept the cookbook, got rid of the husband. I think I got the better deal. My mother, grandmother, and great-aunt all had sets of silverplate (“Tudorplate” ™) in the Queen Bess pattern introduced in the 1940s. My sister has mom’s and grandma’s sets, and they still show up on the holiday dinner table!

  2. It was 1965 when I married the first time. I got the Betty Crocker Cooking for Two cookbook. I still have that book. Have used it often as my immediate family never grew greater than 3. Mike and I have been married since 1977, and we still enjoy meals from that cookbook.
    I also own the full sized cookbook. Oatmeal cookies and zucchini bread recipes are used a lot along with a variety of others.
    Growing up my mom collected S&H green stamps. Oh the treasures in that little catalog. Thanks for the memories.

  3. I still use my Betty Crocker cookbook. Was new in 1971.
    The recipes are tried, true and always delicious!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. I saved those coupons, too. I chose the rose design on the silverware. I still use the pie server. I didn’t get a whole set.

    I have the Betty Crocker Cookbook and still use her recipe for pancakes.

    I also saved the seals from pet food. Purina offered a calendar with photos of cats. The dog food coupons and 30 cents got me a string of pearls that has a fancy clasp. I call them my “Dog Pearls”.

    I saved green stamps and traded them in for a spice rack among other items.

    I don’t think any store gives out stamps anymore, but it was fun when they did.

  5. I still have the Betty Crocker snd Good Housekeeping cookbooks. Most of the Oneida flatware has disappeared over the yesrs but I believe it was called Colonial or Revere pattern, Great memories and thanks for all the great books.

  6. I remember being in charge as a teenager to put the stamps into their books. Even now I run across a few loose stamps in old desk drawers that missed being properly accounted for in a premium book. My first job as a teenaged cashier included handing out stamps with the customer’s change. It was a pain to handle. Count the change. Count the stamps. Then at the end of the shift we had to balance the money in the drawer and the number of stamps too. MEMORIES!

  7. I have my momma’s good housekeeping cookbook, which I still use. My momma collected green stamps and Raleigh coupons. As a kid, I licked a lot of stamps to place in the stamp books for redemption. I also saved green stamps as a young adult. I bought lamps, my set of copper bottom pans and other household items to accompany my collection of Early American Parent Reject furniture.

    • I love the term “Early American Parent Reject furniture.” I lived in Navy Air Station housing when I was first married and didn’t have to furnish a house for four years. I found parent reject furniture more to my liking than modern things. For one thing it was better made. A little refinishing and new covers were the answer.

  8. My Betty Crocker cookbook is open on the counter right now to make snickerdoodle cookies this afternoon. I bought mine as a special from Sears with a special collection of holiday recipes. I suppose I picked this cookbook because my mother had one that was well used. I had a great Betty Crocker program on my computer to add my own recipes, but it didn’t convert to the computer upgrade, so back to using the book.
    And I have a couple of Corning Ware cornflower pieces that are about 50 years old that I got from green stamps as well as glasses that came from the Texaco station with a fill-up of some many gallons.
    Those were the days!

  9. I still have my Betty Crocker Cookbook that I received in 1954 when I got married.
    I also have the Oneida stainless flatware in the Rose pattern. I didn’t use them for everyday until 20 years ago when we remodeled our kitchen. They still look like brand new.
    I enjoy reading all the J.A.Jance books and have read almost all of them. ?

  10. I have the cookbook too. Mine was a shower gift in 1958. Still use it, too. Don memory lane for sure.

  11. Growing up watching my mom cook, I learn to use a cookbook. But other tricks too. Like a pinch of this or that. A handful of flour or sugar. She tasted what she was making as she added ingredients. Every recipe got her special touch. Moms are like that. Everything always came out tasting great. There were no leftovers. She had cookbooks but had lots of recipes in her head. I miss her cooking. We had some ladies group get togeather and prepare meals for events. I called it Grannies cooking. Yum yum.

  12. This is the second week in a row that I have not received a link to the latest blog in my email. Even though I can come here directly, I enjoyed having the email to remind me that it was Friday and a special treat awaited. Are the links gone for good or can mine be restored?

    • Mine didn’t come through again this week, either. Try unsubscribing and then resubscribing, but there’s no guarantee that will work. Sorry about that.

      • I didn’t get an email last week but then today, the day after thanksgiving, there it was.

      • I, too, missed last week, but this week arrived. I received a Betty Crocker Cookbook as a wedding gift in 1976, but also have my great-grandmother’s book from the 1950’s. It is missing the first page, but otherwise is in excellent condition, including the dust jacket. Hers is titled Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook and both are loose leaf.

  13. I have my mother’s Betty Crocker cookbook from the 1950’s. I have a lot of cookbooks but the Betty Crocker cookbook is used the most. I treasure this cookbook. Thank you so much for your essay.

  14. It was 1963 when I got married and got my first Betty Crocker cookbook. Very badly stained and earmarked, I gave it to my #2 daughter a few years ago because I needed a cookbook with bigger print and she had asked for it. Daughter #1 was outraged that she didn’t get it. (Sibling rival never goes away about some things.) Then, her mother-in-law found one just like it (without the stains, etc). Now the girls “discuss” which one is mre valuable — the one with Mom’s drips or the more pristine one! Fond memories for our family.

  15. Still have my Betty Crocker cookbook as well. Also have a rag rug or two made by me great grandmother whom I was fortunate to know and remember. Green Stamps were a big part of my growing up years – I loved putting them in the books. Nothing like filling up a couple of books and heading to the stamp store!

  16. I was married in 1970 and received a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook and it appears to be well used with torn, wrinkled, stained pages of my favorite recipes.
    But the pumpkin pie recipe I use now is so easy, it uses canned pumpkin, eggs and Eagle Brand Milk (replaces the canned milk and sugar) plus the spices. and I also use Pillsbury pie crust that you roll out. I’m not good at rolling pie crust even ,so these are great.
    Seems at our age we have similar ideas on cooking.

  17. Somewhere among my many moves my 1975 version of the Betty Crocker cookbook bit the dust. But I still have the Betty Crocker cooking for kids cookbook gifted to me in 1957. I have been teaching my grandson to cook over the past five years and we actually started with that very same Children’s cookbook. He has since moved on to full fledged recipes. I have decided that in a couple years, I will gift him with his very own current copy of the Betty Crocker cookbook. It’s simply just the best there is.

  18. I still have both the Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook as well as the Good Housekeeping one. I think I bought them when I got married in 1971. I’ve added the Betty Crocker International Cookbook and the Betty Crocker Buffets Cookbooks as well. All three are true classics. I’ve never had a “fail” from any of them.
    My sister and pasted endless green stamps in those books. We think they were redeemed for glassware. Thanks for the memories!!!!

  19. I had an earlier version of a BC cookbook that was 3 ring bound – probably received in 1966 as a wedding shower gift. . Lost that one along the years somehow – maybe I pitched it when I got a newer version – so sorry I did that!

    The one I replaced it with is well used – so many comfort food recipes!

    I now have yet a later version of a BC cookbook, and I find I don’t use it as often as my original. There are some different recipes in the newer one, but they’re not the comfort food I remember from growing up…

    Green stamps! We treasured those, as well. Loved going to the stamp store!

  20. For me, it was the 1968 version of the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, which I still have. I got 2 of them when we married in 1973, traded in one for something else, at the store at that time, I recall. And then that Christmas, my parents (actually my mother, of course) gave me the Kitchen Klatter cookbook. They were “homemaking on the air” radio show people in this midwest area.

  21. Back in the 70s, we were surprise to inherited a house from my husband’s stepmother. She was not fond of my husband.. It was a big house and she was heavy duty hoarder. She had a lot of very nice things and a lot of junk. Among her things was a collection of a couple of hundred cookbooks. While packing them up we found a five dollar bills sticking out from one of the books. So rather taking them to the thrift store, we took them to my fourth grade classroom.
    I explain to my kids the possibilities and and if they wanted to go through the books in there free time, we would have a big party if we collected any money. In the first day they found seven dollars. The kids loved it. Over the next month, we collected a huge amount of money. We had a big party and invited the other two fourth grade classes to join us. The money we had left over we donated to our school library for new children’s books.

    • This story sounds like a plot from a Jance book. Joanna Brady series, involving the family of the medical examiner. Would have to hunt to find the exact book. Life imitates art?

  22. I too received my wedding silverware from my mother via Betty Crocker coupons in 75. I was upset because it wasn’t the pattern I wanted but Betty Crocker didn’t have that pattern.
    I think my mother bought the last set possible for my daughter for her hope chest – have it in my closet! Great things came from both Betty Crocker coupons and green stamps!!

  23. Mom had an original Betty Crocker cook book and I cooked from it. There are lots of greasy stains on the page for baking powder biscuits, and they’re my fault. I have it now, as well as a three ring binder version of the original that was reprinted within the last thirty years.

  24. Such memories. I have so many things from green stamps still. Whenever I use one (usually kitchen things) I reminisce. I loved to pick up the most recent S&H catalogue when out shopping with the kids back in the day.

    My mother’s sister gave us the GOOD HOUSEKEEPING COOKBOOK the year my husband and I were married, 1969. It’s been well-used and is treasured. I wish I would have known about the Betty Crocker coupons, tho!!!

    Thanks for the memories, JA!

    Btw, I just finished BLESSING OF THE LOST GIRLS. It was just wonderful! It’s amazing how you can keep all those ideas in your head and then put them on paper so we can enjoy them. Thanks, again.

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  26. I had to Google Pluggers as it doesn’t appear in The Seattle Times.

    What memories this blog brought back to me. Dave and I were married in June of 1966 and received the BC Cookbook either as a shower or wedding gift. I also have my mother-in-law’s edition along with a more current edition; however, my edition like yours is still my favorite–loose pages and held together with shipping tape and rubber bands. I will have to try your pumpkin pie recipe-have never made it with milk. I always follow the Libby can recipe–even won a prize with it at church.

    I also got stainless from Betty Crocker and still using it. Oh, those coupons were wonderful. Even got measuring spoons and measuring cups that I still use with them.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.


  27. I have that same pattern Oneida stainless, coupons and cash. Nowhere near 24 place settings.

    Not sure where my BC cookbook came from. Pretty sure I must have bought it at some time or other. Also subscribed to BC recipe cards that Tony Randall shilled for. Collected them for a while UNTIL one day I wanted to make scalloped potatoes. The recipe card said 2 boxes of BC scalloped potato mix. I was over that subscription right quick!

  28. My mother Ethel and Evie were cut from the same cloth. While I was growing up in the 50’s and 60’s, we ate on silver-plate cutlery that Mom obtained with Betty Crocker coupons; she had a set of 8 place settings that we used everyday and a set in a wooden chest that she saved for good. When my mother passed at age 96, there was still some of the everyday set in her kitchen and my niece has the good set. I came across some of the baby pieces recently and use them for my granddaughter. I still have the Betty Crocker Cookbook I got (first wedding) in 1972; my go-to cookbook rarely lets me down when looking for a recipe. Thanks for the memories. (BTW, Beau is my favorite detective ever and I’ve come to know a lot of them through reading. And I like your Arizona stories as I spent several winters in Casa Grande after retiring and I’ve learned a lot from your books.)

  29. Mom cooked from the Betty Crocker cookbook as well, the old one with the red-and-white cover. She gifted copies to all of us kids and many of the grandkids too. My brother went to college 3/4 of the way across the country and one of the first things he wrote home for was her recipe for applesauce cake, for which she was famous. That was when he got his copy, sent all the way to Colorado from here in Upstate NY, as that is where she found the recipe. His cooking for his college housemates got him out of almost all the other household chores there, so it worked out well for him. The one Mom gave me was the simpler one with the bright orange cover. I was an awful tomboy and was not impressed at the time (I would have rather had a horse), but it tops the cookbook drawer in the kitchen still, battered, tattered, full of notations, and cover-sprung from all the additional recipes stuffed in. My grown up girls fight over who should get it when I am done with it. Loved this post.

    • That is one well-loved cookbook! I have a battered copy of The Modern Family Cook Book by Meta Given. The inside title page is inscribed “Jean 1954, OHL”. That’s my mother’s name, the year she was married and I was born, and her mother’s initials. I consult it regularly. I hope my son, who is the better cook of my children, will take it when I am gone (not parting with it before then!).

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