In Your Easter Bonnet

Some of my favorite cookbooks are the Betty Crocker cookbooks from the 1950s and 1960s.  They’re full of wonderful illustrations, wacky recipes, and vintage tablescapes.  In honor of today’s beautiful weather and an Easter spent with lovely friends, I’m posting two recipes for everyone’s favorite vintage appetizer, the deviled egg, from my favorite Betty Crocker cookbooks.

The first book, Dinner for Two, was published in 1958.  The first edition of this cookbook has amazing illustrations by none other than Charley Harper, known for his modernist prints of wildlife.  Needless to say, the cookbook is an amazing repository of Harper’s illustrations!  (Be warned, fellow collectors, the subsequent editions of this cookbook do not have Harper’s illustrations, only the first!)  Here is one of my favorite images from Dinner for Two!

The Betty Crocker Hostess Cookbook, published in 1967, has one of my favorite covers out of all the vintage cookbooks I own. Can I just say that I want to live in that house?  I promise to take good care of it!

But I digress.  Both of these cookbooks have recipes for deviled eggs, and I couldn’t decide which recipe I’d rather make, so I made both as appetizers for Easter dinner.    The first, which comes from the Table for Two cookbook, is a very basic one.  (And isn’t Charley Harper’s illustration of ‘deviled’ eggs hilarious?)

I liked this recipe better.  It was simple, yummy, and I think it would be a hit with children and adults alike.  (One note, instead of salad cream, I used mayonnaise, which is recommended as a substitution for salad cream elsewhere in Table for Two.)

The second recipe, from the Hostess Cookbook, jazzes up the humble deviled egg with horseradish and other additions. The other three judges at Easter dinner liked this recipe the best.  It definitely tasted of horseradish, and the addition of the Worcestershire sauce gave the filling a brownish hue rather than the more traditional yellow.  I did not serve our deviled eggs with tomato slices.

The overwhelming response from my guests?  Both recipes had way too much salt!  Even after making the Dinner for Two recipe again with half the recommended amount, it was still too salty.  So adjust the salt in both of these recipes accordingly or you will be very surprised!  After noticing the saltiness in both recipes we wonder if this is a feature in other recipes in the Betty Crocker series of cookbooks.  I guess I’ll find out as I make more recipes from these cookbooks.


  1. Reply
    Kate April 5, 2010

    Deviled eggs are yummy! We had them also with L’s recipe. She is the queen of deviled eggs in our house!

    The artwork is so cute! If you get the house, let me know.

  2. Reply
    Dr. Virago April 5, 2010

    That house is *teh awesome*. Added bonus: it reminds me of the illustrations for the “interior design” entry in my Mom’s 1960s World Book Encyclopedia.

    I made some awesome, fancy deviled eggs a few months ago. They had smoked paprika, a little cayenne, and tomato paste in them! If you want, I’ll forward you the recipe (I now forget where I got it) — they were *yummy*.

  3. Reply
    Tricia April 5, 2010

    I like the outdoors shot of the eggs!

    I would really love to try those horse radish eggs again with reduced salt. They were really yummy!

    I wonder, too, if other recipes you might find from that decade were also heavy on the salt. As we discussed, I wonder if it’s a generational thing, or, as you noted, if it’s a Betty Crocker thing.

    • Reply
      alison April 5, 2010

      @Tricia: I made these this morning when it was still sunny outside. The eggs just looked so perfect nestled in the grass! I also want to try the horse-radish ones without the salt…perhaps for our next dinner night we’ll try them!

  4. Reply

    No matter how many deviled eggs I make they are always gobbled up first thing. They seem to be everybody’s favorite. The added bit of horseradish sounds delish.

  5. Reply
    Catherine April 6, 2010

    Oh, I love Betty Crocker! Regarding the salt issue, I’ve made many recipes from my Betty Crocker cookbooks and have never found it to be a problem. But then, my oldest cookbook was published in 1990. Maybe our tastes have just changed over the years?

  6. Reply
    Susan @ The Spice Garden April 7, 2010

    Good old Betty Crocker! I love how the Crocker signature never changes over all the years! As for deviled eggs… they are a classic! I think every household cook that dyes eggs for Easter has their own little secret ingredient! For us, it’s just a dash of sweet hotdog relish in the yolk mix and cayenne pepper sprinkled oh, so sparingly over the eggs when they are plated … a sweet taste and lips that tingle just a bit when you bite into the egg.

  7. Reply
    alison April 8, 2010

    @Cathy I know–they’re such a good appetizer for holiday dinners!

    @Catherine–Interesting to note that the contemporary recipes don’t need the adjustment. Is there, by change a deviled egg recipe in your newer Betty Crocker cookbooks? I wonder if they still use the same one!

    @Susan–The hotdog relish sounds wonderful, as does the cayenne. I used sharp papricka and it added a nice little bit of spice to the eggs.

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