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The Best-Loved and Brand-New Joy of Cooking

(article, Christina Eng)

Hard to admit, yes, but I hadn’t read the Joy of Cooking — ever. A couple of inches thick, the classic loved by generations of Americans seemed too daunting. Filled with so much text — after all, where were the color photos? — the collection seemed too dense. It frightened me, I think. 

Written originally in the 1930s by Irma S. Rombauer, a widow in St. Louis, the book had been revised periodically in the decades since by her daughter Marion Rombauer Becker and her grandson Ethan Becker. 

Flipping through the 75th-anniversary edition, I realized I’d been missing out. Like its predecessors, the new The Best-Loved and Brand-New Joy of Cooking covers nearly everything under the kitchen skylight: fish, poultry, breads, fruits, vegetables, and desserts. But unlike its predecessors, I’m told, this volume also includes recipes for slow cookers (the machines, of course, not the people) and recipes modified for high altitudes (for bakers in Denver, perhaps, and Santa Fe).


h1.Featured recipes


Not only are there directions for grilled fish and chicken curry, for example, but Slow-Cooker Vegetarian Chili and High-Altitude Gingerbread, too. There are instructions for appetizers like dolmas and samosas, and regional specialties like Shrimp or Crawfish Étouffée and Cincinnati Chili Cockaigne. Goodness, there are entire chapters on cocktails and stuffings.

The variety continues to astound me. So I have vowed to embrace the Joy of Cooking now. It can’t intimidate me anymore; it is far too valuable a countertop resource. Besides, I tell myself, it’s about time I learned what everybody else must have known all along.

p(bio). [ "Christina Eng"] is a writer in Oakland, California.

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