Betty Crocker, Sara Lee, and Cardamom

In 2000, while we still lived in San Francisco, San Geraldo’s second-cousin, Inger, and her family visited from Norway for a month. Linda and Tom decided to come for a brief visit at the same time so they could meet Inger, Jan Olaf, and their three incredible kids (ranging in age from 16 to 20 at the time).

Inger is a trained and exceptionally talented cook. (When she was a child in Bergen, Norway, many girls were sent to what Inger refers to as “Housewife School.”) One morning, while San Geraldo and I were at our jobs at the University of California, Berkeley, Inger and Linda were alone in our well-stocked kitchen. (Click the photos for a better view.)

THE SAN FRANCISCO KITCHEN: THE BIG, BLACK, BALL OF FUR,
CENTER SCREEN, IS ONE OF OUR ORIGINAL “BROTHER CATS,” DOBIE.
A GREAT KITCHEN….
EXCEPT THAT SAN GERALDO NEVER COOKED AND I DIDN’T CLEAN.

Inger was putting together the makings for something and, after searching in vain through the cabinets, asked Linda if she knew if Jerry (aka San Geraldo) had cardamom.

“Card-a-what?” asked Linda.

“Cardamom,” responded Inger.

“What’s that? asked Linda.

“It’s a spice,” said Inger.

“Well, what’s it for?”

“For making sweet rolls,” explained Inger.

Linda snapped, “Oh, I buy those!”

Inger laughed, but thought Linda could have been joking. She said, “But, you really don’t know what cardamom is?”

Linda said, “Nope. And I’ll bet you Leann [the other sister] won’t know either.”

Inger insisted, “Oh, but Jerry says Leann cooks and bakes. She has to know what it is.”

Linda picked up the phone and dialed.

Linda didn’t even say ‘hello.’ “Hey, Leann, what’s cardamom?”

Inger was listening in and could hear Leann answer with her own question, “Is this a joke?”

“No,” said Linda, “Do you have cardamom at your house?”

“What is it?” asked Leann.

“It’s a spice,” said Linda.

“Well, what’s it for?” asked Leann.

“For making sweet rolls,” said Linda.

To which Leann snapped, “Oh, I buy those!”

NOTE: When we got home from work, Inger told us the story. It turned out Jerry did have cardamom … And he knew how to use it.

THE CARDAMOM WAS IN THE CABINET TO THE LEFT ABOVE THE GAS RANGE.

Linda used to always refer to herself as Betty Crocker (obviously, she was being ironic). (Click here to read more about Betty Crocker and her questionable connection with Linda.) Inger of course had never heard of Betty Crocker and finally demanded of Linda, “But I would like to know what this Betty Crocker looks like!”

Linda framed her own face with her open hands and beamed, “See?!?”

Inger now refers to herself as the Norwegian Betty Crocker.

(Click here if you weren’t around to read my original sweet rolls story.)

LINDA (LEFT) AND INGER.  THE [OTHER] TWO BETTY CROCKERS.  SEE?!?
And as long as we’re on the subject of baked goods,
here’s Liza Minnelli singing about another American favorite…

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

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