Monday, December 23, 2019

Joy of Cooking: 2019 Edition Fully Revised and Updated Review

Joy of Cooking was one of the first cookbooks in my collection. It's been a solid reference book for home cooks since it was first published in 1936 and was the cookbook I turned to when I was learning to cook. I turned to Joy to learn how to make biscuits, cobblers, pie crust, gingerbread, how long to roast a chicken or leg of lamb, and the general guidelines for everything from how long to steam an artichoke to how to make zucchini bread.

As my cookbook collection has grown and my cooking has become more adventurous, I stopped referring to Joy of Cooking which felt a little old fashioned, and a little too Midwestern. But the latest version has brought me back into the fold and here's why. The most recent version was updated by John Becker, the great-grandson of the original author Irma Rombauer and his wife Megan Scott. They live in Portland, Oregon, and the book now has more of a West Coast flavor than ever before— which is evident in recipes for things like poke and cioppino. They are young and adventurous and have thankfully dispensed with recipes that relied on things like Jell-o and canned soup while incorporating a very wide range of international spices and condiments so you'll find explanations of things like koji, amba and gochujang. The book has sections on canning, fermenting and even how to infuse vodka.

Recently I wanted to make kimchi but having never made it before I found the recipe in Joy of Cooking was perfect for a beginner. The book has caught up to where I am in my cooking and culinary explorations while still being a solid pick for the basics. Even if you already have a copy (or more than one) of Joy of Cooking, I recommend checking out the new one. There are 600 new recipes and it feels fresh and modern while preserving everything cooks appreciate about the book, especially the intertwining of ingredients and instructions and an approachable personality. Becker and Scott have done Irma Rombauer proud. 

Disclaimer: I was provided with a review copy of Joy of Cooking. I was not compensated monetarily to write this review. This page includes affiliate links.