Food on the Web

You know Betty Crocker as the maker of everything from cake mix to Hamburger Helper, but have you taken a look at the company's website lately? In addition to being a showplace for its extensive line of cooking and baking products and cookbooks and magazines, it's a fun site to browse for everything from seasonal articles to menu planning.

When you first visit the Betty Crocker homepage, you're greeted with a relatively quick-loading site that's peppered with graphics that will make your mouth water and pique your interest with a handful of timely ideas and tips. Unfortunately, there are some clickable graphics that can mysteriously take you to various destinations, but most items are more obvious and include brief descriptions. The main sections of the website are broken into the following five categories (although the recipe search and meal planner are featured more prominently on the main page):

  • Learn - cooking, baking and entertaining
  • View - products and promotions
  • Shop - our catalogs
  • Find - cookbooks and magazines
  • Access - your recipe clippings

The Learn section includes a wide variety of articles on both timely and timeless topics. There are three sections that claim to teach you all about cooking, baking and entertaining -- respectively -- and, while the information is helpful, it's hardly all there is to know! Definitely worth a read though.

The View section includes an overview of Betty Crocker's family of products, along with recipes and grocery lists to utilize them. If you are a fan of these products, this will be a section of interest to you. If you tend to make meals completely from scratch, you'll probably want to skip this section.

The Shop section is precisely what it says. You can choose from a wide variety of products and books for the home. This section also provides a special section for those that collect Betty Crocker points that includes discounts and the like.

The Find section is really an extension of the Shop section that is limited to the various publications that Betty Crocker publishes.

The Access section allows you to sign up for a membership that allows you to basically bookmark recipes that you find on the site that you wish to keep on hand. It's a handy tool if you'll be using the recipe search and meal planner frequently.

Speaking of which, no review of the Betty Crocker website would be complete without a look at these tools. The recipe search is extensive (almost 300 results for the search term "chicken") and easy to use. You can also refine searches by opting to only see recipes that fit certain categories (e.g. lower fat, one dish, etc.). One thing that many will really appreciate is the fact that all of the recipes have photos of the finished product included -- a very nice plus that's hard to find online.

The meal planner builds on the extensive recipe database by pairing items that fit within a theme and suggesting alternatives and tips and hints on how to make an occasion special -- even if the main goal is to get dinner on the table in less than a half hour! It's a nice way to browse recipes as well and you can add entire menus to your bookmark section if you've signed up in the Access section.

With people everywhere challenged with making meals quickly or planning the perfect grilling party, a website like Betty Crocker is a welcomed resource. If you don't mind the fact that they are obviously there to encourage you to buy their products, this website can be easily counted among a cook's helpful online tools.

Web Site Name: Betty Crocker Web Site URL: Seasoned Cooking Rating (5 = BEST): 4 STARS Editor's Note: The web site reviewed in this article was chosen from among those included in Seasoned Cooking's automated list of related sites. Anyone can add links to their favorite site related to food, cooking, health, fitness or hobbies by visiting our related sites page and clicking on the "Add / Edit a Site" button. We welcome your additions. Who knows? Maybe your favorite site will be the next one reviewed!

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