Betty Crocker opens the vault

When you have a treasure trove of classic recipes, it makes sense to revisit and republish every so often. That’s what the folks at Betty Crocker are doing with two books released this month, both from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. “Betty Crocker: The Christmas Book” ($19.99) is a paperback collection of holiday traditions, from cheese balls shaped like evergreens to bûche de Noël. Oh, yeah, and bourbon balls. There are some modern updates among the more than 200 recipes; Grandma never made Dulce de Leche — Coffee Dipped Pears. How-to-entertain tips make hosting seem like a piece of (Bundt) cake.

“Betty Crocker Lost Recipes” ($25) is even more nostalgic. Ideas such as “How to throw a Hawaiian tiki party” mingle with recipes for Chicken a la King, Hot German Potato Salad and Cherry Berries on a Cloud. The hardcover book champions “from scratch” cooking as well as “classic recipes that have fallen out of vogue but still deserve to be brought back.” That recipe for Sandwich Loaf? It’s right here.

Arby’s venison returns on Saturday

Last year, St. Louis Park was a test market for a venison sandwich from Arby’s. The allotted 70 sandwiches sold out in 15 minutes. Now it’s back, with every Arby’s in the U.S. offering the sandwich on Oct. 21 while supplies last — and they’re expected to go quickly. Star Tribune food critic Rick Nelson last year described the venison as a “generous portion of farm-raised meat, cooked to a juicy medium-rare.” Its texture was something “between Salisbury steak and brisket. Not bad.” Its flavor was authentic, with “the unmistakable gaminess of deer meat.”

Arby’s culinary team is already searching for an encore, with a limited-edition elk sandwich sold on Oct. 21 in three restaurants in Thornton, Colo., Casper, Wyo., and Billings, Mont.

Bake-Off deadline is Nov. 10

Here’s our one and only reminder that the iconic Pillsbury Bake-Off is taking entries for recipes that use its refrigerated dough products. Home cooks also are asked to share a story about their creation, such as “the recipe’s inspiration, a favorite memory behind the recipe, a secret ingredient, the story of how the recipe came to be, how it brings people together, or how it has become a family tradition.” For the complete rules and entry form, visit