A St. Louis widow named Irma Rombauer took her life savings and self-published a book called The Joy of Cooking in 1931. Her daughter Marion tested recipes and made the illustrations, and they sold their mother-daughter project from Irma's apartment.
Today, nine revisions later, the Joy of Cooking—selected by The New York Public Library as one of the 150 most important and influential books of the twentieth century—has taught tens of millions of people to cook, helped feed and delight millions beyond that, answered countless kitchen and food questions, and averted many a cooking crisis.
Ethan Becker, Marion's son, led the latest version of JOY, still a family affair, into the twenty-first century with the seventy-fifth anniversary edition that draws upon the best of the past while keeping its eye on the way we cook now. It features a rediscovery of the witty, clear voices of Marion Becker and Irma Rombauer, whose first instructions to the cook were “stand facing the stove.” Recently, Ethan’s son, John Becker, and John’s wife, Megan Scott, joined the JOY team, where they oversee the brand’s website (TheJoyKitchen.com) and all social media for JOY. They spearheaded the creation of the bestselling Joy of Cooking app, available for iPhone and iPad.
JOY remains the greatest teaching cookbook ever written. Reference material gives cooks the precise information they need for success. New illustrations focus on techniques, including everything from knife skills to splitting cake layers, setting a table, and making tamales.
The 75th Anniversary edition also brings back the encyclopedic chapter Know Your Ingredients. The chapter that novices and pros alike have consulted for over thirty years has been revised, expanded, and banded, making it a book within a book. Cooking Methods shows cooks how to braise, steam, roast, sauté, and deep-fry effortlessly, while an all-new Nutrition chapter has the latest thinking on healthy eating—as well as a large dose of common sense.
This edition restores the personality of the book, reinstating popular elements such as the grab-bag Brunch, Lunch, and Supper chapter and chapters on frozen desserts, cocktails, beer and wine, canning, salting, smoking, jellies and preserves, pickles and relishes, and freezing foods. Fruit recipes bring these favorite ingredients into all courses of the meal, and there is a new grains chart. There are even recipes kids will enjoy making and eating, such as Chocolate Dipped Bananas, Dyed Easter Eggs, and the ever-popular Pizza.
In addition to hundreds of brand-new recipes, this JOY is filled with many recipes from all previous editions, retested and reinvented for today's tastes.
This is the JOY for how we live now. Knowing that most cooks are sometimes in a hurry to make a meal, the JOY now has many new dishes ready in thirty minutes or less. Slow cooker recipes have been added for the first time. This JOY shares how to save time without losing flavor by using quality convenience foods such as canned stocks and broths, beans, tomatoes, and soups, as well as a wide array of frozen ingredients. Cooking creatively with leftovers emphasizes ease and economy, and casseroles—those simple, satisfying, make-ahead, no-fuss dishes—abound. Especially important to busy households is a new section that teaches how to cook and freeze for a day and eat for a week, in an effort to eat more home-cooked meals, save money, and dine well.
As always, JOY grows with the times: The 75th Anniversary edition of JOY boasts an expanded Vegetables chapter, including instructions on how to cook vegetables in the microwave, and an expanded baking section, Irma's passion—always considered a stand-alone bible within the JOY.
This all-purpose anniversary edition of the Joy of Cooking offers endless choice for virtually every occasion, situation, and need, from a ten-minute stir-fry on a weekday night to Baby Back Ribs and Grilled Corn in the backyard, or a towering Chocolate Layer Cake with Chocolate Fudge Frosting and Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream. JOY will show you the delicious way just as it has done for countless cooks before you.
The span of culinary information is breathtaking and covers everything from boiling eggs (there are two schools of thought) to showstopping, celebratory dishes such as Beef Wellington, Roast Turkey and Bread Stuffing, and Crown Roast of Pork.
As mentioned in:
- Episode #27 – Education is a Discipline by Mystie Winckler during the Scholé Everyday segment