JOY OF COOKING by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, and Ethan Becker
When I recently received Joy of Cooking as a wedding gift (thank you Aunt Birgitta and Uncle Jerry!) I will admit that at first I was intimidated by its dictionary-like thickness and lack of glossy photographs typical of modern cookbooks (I know, I’m juvenile that way and always look for pretty pictures)! However, it only takes turning the first page to realize that you have fallen upon the most helpful and practical cooking resource possible-a true treasure for any home cook’s library. Joy of Cooking is like having admission to an exclusive culinary school, minus the fees and hassle of attending classes (instead you can learn while still in your pajamas sipping your morning coffee-that’s what I do!). What’s more, the way this voluminous guide is written is so down-to-earth and at times funny that you will find yourself finishing entire chapters in one sitting. The best analogy I can make in regards to the style and tone of this book is as if a friendly grandmother were teaching you step-by-step all of the tricks and secrets to her best homemade recipes.
More than the recipes (of which there are thousands divided into neat and simple categories) I have found the reference/instructional chapters most informative and eye-opening. For example, there is an entire chapter titled “Know Your Ingredients” in which you can find information such as how to prepare/cook/store and mix any ingredient you can imagine, listed in alphabetical order. For the self-taught/learning cook like me this chapter is invaluable as it explains in common terms how and why certain ingredients react like they do and why we use them in various recipes-important information for being able to develop new, unique dishes. In this section you will also find an extremely helpful table of common substitutes for various ingredients along with measurement conversion tables. Similarly there is an equally useful chapter on “Cooking Methods and Techniques” which covers everything under the sun from how to sharpen knives to how to remove common food stains. Other helpful sections include Nutrition, Entertaining and Menu.
This book truly has it all! Another bonus-an attached ribbon bookmark to hold your place where you left off! Does it get any better than that!?
Sometimes we get so caught up in the world of colorful cooking magazines, cookbooks and pinterest photos (and don’t get me wrong I love these too!) that we risk overlooking perhaps the greatest cooking guide of all- Joy of Cooking. If you don’t already own this masterpiece I highly recommend you find yourself a copy-you won’t regret it! Also, as my Aunt gave to me, this book makes an amazing wedding gift for any couple starting out! I hope the Joy of Cooking brings you as much joy as it has to me!
Purchase your copy of Joy of Cooking today at Amazon here.