Appreciating all that makes America special

“Joy of Cooking”

Joy of Cooking,

It’s probably not used in a single NYC restaurant. But it’s on the shelf of thousands of home cooks all over the world. Uploaded by

If ever a cookbook deserved to be a Great American Thing, this is the one. Sure, you could argue for Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which certainly had a major impact. But read that title again. French. No, the Joy of Cooking may not have influenced the world of haute cuisine, but it did something better – it influenced the American dining table.

Joy of Cooking,

Uploaded by

When Irma von Starkloff Rombauer decided to help beginning cooks by assembling some recipes along with instructions, she virtually created the cookbook industry. And just think back to what the culinary world was like in 1936. I have to quote this extended section, written by Anne Mendelson, from TJOC’s interesting website:

These first JOY editions take us back to an America where chicken was expensive and veal cheap, most kitchen knives had to be scoured clean with lemon juice to keep from staining, “frosted” (frozen) vegetables were making a very slow entry into kitchens, home refrigerators didn’t outnumber literal “iceboxes” cooled by blocks of ice, and milk was not homogenized. Electric mixers were a novelty; most people beat egg whites or whipped cream with a rotary eggbeater or wire whisk. Pureeing was done without blenders or food processors, by forcing the ingredients through a sieve with a wooden pusher or spoon. Many people had never encountered zucchini, broccoli, acorn squash, soy sauce, or fresh ginger. Goat cheese, fennel, fettuccine, bagels, yogurt, macadamia nuts, mangoes, hoisin sauce, extra-virgin olive oil, and cilantro were esoteric items known only to a few. Cherry tomatoes, Cornish hens, and butter wrapped in quarter-pound sticks lay some distance in the future, as did aluminum foil, household plastic bags, paper towels, and plastic wrap.

The most recent revision of the classic was published in 2006, The 75th Anniversary Edition. Today, the Joy kitchen is lovingly maintained and updated by John Becker and Megan Scott, and it’s making its move to the digital world. Whether online or in print, The Joy of Cooking continues to be an invaluable resource for the American cook.

It's easy to share with friends.