Betty Crocker. I owe at least half (probably more) of my cooking skills to good old Betty. She was there for me when I was just a tiny kid, learning how to cook. She taught me about cookies, pancakes, cobbler, sweet and sour sauce, and meatballs. Her big red classic cookbook was always a staple in my household growing up, so when I happened upon a copy of it while at a swap meet 8 years ago, I had to snatch it up. $2 for Betty? That's definitely an offer I couldn't refuse. Since then, I've consulted her often, and she's never let me down. Since then I've also aquired other Betty Crocker cookbooks, such as the Quick and Easy cookbook, and the recipes keep getting better. If you don't have one of her cookbooks, you're crazy, but you can check her out online at http://www.bettycrocker.com/ And if you don't like to cook from scratch, you can also buy her baking mixes at the store. I definitely recommend the chocolate walnut chunk brownies, lemon poppyseed muffins, and devil's food cake mix. They're virtually fail-proof and ready in minutes. Oh Betty, where would I be without you?
***As a side note, it turns out that Betty Crocker was never an actual person, just a name created by the Washburn Crosby Company to give cooking advice and market their products. The day I learned that a little piece inside of me died.