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Margaret Cochran, Ph.D. Headshot

Betty Crocker, It's Time to Hang up Your Spoon and Apologize to America!

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What happened Betty? You used to be so good, so sweet and wholesome as apple pie. And now look at you, a trans-fat slut! What made you sell out to the dark side? Speaking of which, that's the real reason Darth Vader sounds the way he does, too many cigars and trans-fats in his diet.

Betty, we've been through so much together you and I. There was the 'cake slope' disaster of '62, when a layer cake I made, using one of your recipes, somehow went south, very south, in the baking process and developed a distinct downward elevation. I made a double batch of frosting, again courtesy of your cookbook, to fill in the uneven parts and make it at least appear level. My grandfather, for whom I made the cake, and who I think was suspicious after seeing it that something was not quite right, although he tactfully did not let on, declared after taking a bite that, "icing is better than cake anyway." Good old grandpa.

And then there was the great inadvertent 'cookbook heist' of '79 in which I borrowed a brand new Betty Crocker cookbook from a colleague of mine and absentmindedly neglected to return it. I found it some years later when I moved across country and I felt just awful. If the girl I borrowed it from all those years ago is, by chance, reading this you may consider it an IOU.

Betty, you were never a gourmet cook, but you had lots of simple, practical recipes that came in handy to fill in 'the gaps' or to assist with a much-needed 'quick fix' for something at a dinner or cocktail party. You were always an icon of American cookery, a failsafe, someone who had my culinary back. And now, well now, it's over!

And what brought you to this ignominious end? Trans-fats, that's what!

I love baking, but like so many people in the world today I get very busy and sometimes shortcuts are tempting. Recently, I found myself in the position of 'owing' a friend some cupcakes. I was at the grocers purchasing ingredients when it occurred to me that I could save some time by using one of Betty Crocker's premade frostings. When I picked up a container of said frosting (cream cheese flavor) and read the label, as I always do, I found much to my horror that it contained artery-hardening, cerebral hemorrhage-inducing and heart attack-creating trans-fats. Using a known poison in food is not only unacceptable, it's irresponsible and immoral, so Betty old girl, it's goodbye and good riddance!

Now for those of you in need of a quick and simple frosting recipe (bear in mind I am not encouraging you all to O.D. on sweets and carbs, just a little dab 'il do ya) let me share with you my TRANS-FAT FREE alternative to the Betty Crocker 'bad for you' brand version.

Dr. Cochran's Easy Cream Cheese Frosting

8oz Cream Cheese
2/3 cup Sugar
3 Tbs Butter
¾ tsp Vanilla

Cream ingredients together until well combined than whip the mixture for 2-3 minutes. Spread as needed. Keep refrigerated.

Until next time, I'm Dr. Margaret Cochran wishing you a balanced diet, the determination you need to read the labels on the food you buy, and lots and lots of Wisdom, Love and Magic!

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