[Sca-cooks] Elizabeth Crocker

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius1 at verizon.net
Sun Jan 20 05:39:00 PST 2008

On Jan 20, 2008, at 7:24 AM, Georgia Foster wrote:

> I really do want to know.  Why is it that instructors in cooking  
> schools distain "how Betty Crocker does it"?

As Selene suggests, it may be the convenience-food aspects of Betty  
Crocker products, which are almost invariably a sacrifice of quality  
for the sake of convenience.

But in actual fact, I don't think it's a matter of disdain for Betty  
Crocker per se, but of the whole 1950's TV housewife image. One could  
easily substitute "June Cleaver", "Donna Reed", Sarah Lee, Mrs.  
Butterworth, or any of a million other names.

In the end, it's about the tasks associated with cooking for four, or  
eight, or even twelve people being different from the tasks when  
you're prepping food for 150 or more, which is generally what cooking  
school instructors are teaching their students to do. Yes, there _are_  
certainly schools where you can go and learn to be a first-rate non- 
professional cook, and some of these schools are quite well-known, but  
in the other schools, the ones that crank out chefs, the efficiency  
aspect is primary, the artistic aspect is present, but largely  
expected to be supplied by the student. And love? What's that? Better  
to ask Dracula about that than a chef, at least during working hours.  
Passion, they have in gobs, but food-related maternal instincts are  
few and far between.

I make a pretty darned good apple pie. I learned first from my mom,  
and then from highly-paid professionals, how to do this. Then I went  
back and figured out how to do what my mom does in such a way that I  
could teach someone else to do it, in as speedy and cost-effective a  
way as possible. (Although in fairness, no cook on earth was as cost  
effective as the habits my mom acquired during the Depression. What???  
Throw away a perfectly good wrapper from a stick of butter without  
scraping the last fourteen molecules of butter off it first? Do you  
think we're made of money around here???)

The result of all this is I make an apple pie that's better than most,  
amateur or professional. But it's nowhere near as good as my mom's.

On the other hand, take each of us in our prime, and ask us to each  
peel and chop 75 pounds of onions into 1/4 inch dice, who is the smart  
money on?

I'm just sayin'... it's a different skill set. Some overlap, but still  


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