Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Day With Betty Crocker!

I recently became one of the 10 finalists of the Betty's 90th Birthday Bash which entailed a trip out to General Mills in MN for my husband and I.  This is my narrative of it (so that I don't forget anything!).

So we had an absolutely amazing time at Betty’s 90th Birthday Bash at General Mills.  They really went all out!  When we arrived we were enthusiastically greeted by the girls behind the scenes (Kristen, Kayla, Heather, Karen, and many more).  We got our cute birthday name tags (created by Renae) and were taken down to the General Mills board room complete with portraits of all of the “Betty’s”.  We had breakfast in there and then the grand prize winner was announced.  The winner had a wonderful birthday write up that was very touching.  We then went down to the Photography Studio and had several group and individual photos taken.  The studios were amazing they had food stylists preparing dishes to be photographed and what really amazed me was to learn that they actually use the food itself as well as the correct portion size in the recipe.  There is no mashed potato ice cream here!  I also liked the sound proof studio, when you walked in you could immediately recognize the sound dampening qualities.  They also had a stocked an organized pantry, fridge, and freezer, although they don’t keep too much in as they have professional shoppers go shopping when needed.

After this we split into groups and our small group, lead by the super fun Kayla, headed off to the prop room.  It was like being in a huge kitchen warehouse plates and napkins and trays and you name it of every color and style.  Then we walked though the halls were there were several different displays that change up often, including one for refrigerated dough (the kind that pops when you open it).  Who would have thought it has been around for 80 years!  It seems so modern……  Also they have a curator who changes out the art often, the cheerios garden, and a different icon on every level (dough boy, sprout, lucky etc…).  We then went to the archives were they have EVERYTHING!  They keep copies of every packaging they ever do (so now we know were those retro cereal boxes come from!).  They have products and posters and appliances.  We even saw the original dough boy from the commercials.  We learned some history and really enjoyed meeting the two ladies that ran this area.

After this it was time for lunch!  We enjoyed the grand prize winners meal (wonderful food) and signed Betty’s birthday card!  Then we received cookbooks with popular and never seen coming soon recipes.  After organizing those we got to go shopping!  We were generously given $25 gift cards (in addition to gift baskets, gift bags, aprons and quiz prizes) and turned loose!  There is an all out grocery store there as well!  (Really if you work there I don’t think you have to do anything but go to home and work!).  We shopped and also picked up a pumpkin cookie and the cafĂ© (upon recommendation and it was sooooo amazing!).  Then we continued our tour with the library, so so so awesome!  Every publication there is and has ever been about cooking.  I could spend days and weeks in this place!  

Now it was time for test kitchen baking!!!  We got into groups and were given a recipe for a dessert for the cocktail hour.  Our group got to make Cookie Cake Sandwiches!  We had fun and loved ours!  After that we headed into the cocktail reception for some more outstanding food and company!  I wish I could remember everyone’s name, we met so many wonderful associates of the company and really enjoyed chatting with them!  Then Lori Fox signed our very own new edition Betty Crocker cookbook.  We packed up and were bussed back to the hotel.

Other random things – They hire a man to come and chase the geese away (there is a beautiful pond right outside the test kitchens) and he has his dog chase them off or uses an electric boat on the pond!  There is a really cool live feed of what is being typed into the recipe search at Betty Crocker so they know what people are looking for………..beaver kabobs anyone???  And finally I really have new found respect for ALL of the recipes on the Betty Crocker site.  These girls test and test and test these recipes for perfection sometimes up to 17 times!  They BBQ in the middle of winter (and this is not an AZ winter it is MN!) and bake Christmas Cookies in July!  It really is amazing what goes in to these recipes! 

This was a once in a lifetime experience that I will always cherish!  Thank you to all of you at General Mills that make up “Betty Crocker”!