A blog by the staff of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library
We start our second month of reviewing cookbooks with one of the all-time greats. In upcoming weeks we will review some seasonal titles that may help you survive the winter.
Irma S. Rombauer began selling a collection of her favorite recipes from her apartment in St. Louis in 1931. The 75th Anniversary Edition was published in 2006.
What kind of cookbook is it?
Joy of Cooking is a wide-ranging all-purpose cookbook designed to be a mainstay in a kitchen. It is filled with well-tested recipes of everything from appetizers to desserts, and the 75th Anniversary edition even includes instructions for mixing alcoholic drinks and choosing beers and wines. It is meant to be the key book around which a kitchen cookbook collection is built.
Is it easy to use?
Yes, the authors write clearly and give page numbers to any sauce recipes or handling instructions that need further clarification.
Can you easily buy the ingredients for the recipes?
Yes, in most cases. Joy of Cooking does include recipes from many regions and nations, so some fish, fruits, and vegetables may be scarce or seasonal.
What is special about Joy of Cooking?
Author Rombauer and her descendants have made their cookbook into a reference book, too. Each chapter begins with a lesson telling how foods are produced and what safety precautions should be taken. Readers are also told how to pick and use ingredients and specifically how to bake, roast, brown, pan broil, stew, poach, etc. When a recipe from another source says “blanch,” turn to Joy of Cooking to learn how.
What are your favorite recipes?
I think the Quiche Lorraine and the Chicken Pot Pie are mighty good. I dream about Flourless Chocolate Decadence. I use several of the cookie recipes at holidays.
Review by Rick