Joy is the all-purpose cookbook. There are other basic cookbooks on the market, and there are fine specialty cookbooks, but no other cookbook includes such a complete range of recipes in every category: everyday, classic, foreign and de luxe. Joy is the one indispensable cookbook, a boon to the beginner, treasure for the experienced cook, the foundation of many a happy kitchen and many a happy home.
Privately printed in 1931, Joy has always been family affair, and like a family it has grown. Written by Irma Starkloff Rombauer, a St. Louisan, it was first tested and illustrated by her daughter, Marion Rombauer Becker, and subsequently it was revised and enlarged through Marion's efforts and those of her architect husband, John W. Becker. Their sons -- Ethan, with his Cordon Bleu and camping experiences, and Mark, with his interest in natural foods-have reinforced Joy in many ways.
Now over forty, Joy continues to be a family affair, demonstrating more than ever the awareness we all share in the growing preciousness of food. Special features in this edition are the chapter on Heat, which gives you many hints on maintaining the nutrients in the food you are cooking, and Know Your Ingredients, which reveals vital characteristics of the materials you commonly combine, telling how and why they react as they do; how to measure them; when feasible, how to substitute one for another; as well as amounts to buy. Wherever possible, information also appears at the point of use.
Divided into three parts, Foods We Eat, Foods We Heat and Foods We Keep, Joy now contains more than 4500 recipes, many hundreds of them new to this edition -- the first full revision in twelve years. All the enduring favorites will still be found. In the chapter on Brunch, Lunch and Supper Dishes there are also interesting suggestions for using convenience and leftover foods. Through its more than 1000 practical, delightful drawings by Ginnie Hofmann and Ikki Matsumoto, Joy shows how to present food correctly and charmingly, from the simplest to the most formal service; how to prepare ingredients with classic tools and techniques; and how to preserve safely the results of your canning and freezing.
Joy grows with the times; it has a full roster of American and foreign dishes: Strudel, Zabaglione, Rijsttafel, Couscous, among many others. All the classic terms you find on menus, such as Provencale, bonne femme, meunière and Florentine, are not merely defined but fully explained so you yourself can confect the dish they characterize. Throughout the book the whys and wherefores of the directions are given, with special emphasis on that vital cooking factor -- heat. Did you know that even the temperature of an ingredient can make or mar your best-laid plans? Learn exactly what the results of simmering, blanching, roasting and braising have on your efforts. Read the enlarged discussion on herbs, spices and seasonings, and note that their use is included in suitable amounts in the recipes. No detail necessary to your success in cooking has been omitted.
Joy, we hope, will always remain essentially a family affair, as well as an enterprise in which its authors owe no obligation to anyone but to themselves and to you. Choose from our offerings what suits your person, your way of life, your pleasure -- and join us in the Joy of cooking.
Because of the infinite patience that has gone into the preparation of Joy of Cooking, the publishers offer it on a money-back guarantee. Without question there is no finer all-purpose cookbook.
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121 of 123 found the following review helpful:
a classic: two reasons to get this bookJul 19, 2000
By Mayer Goldberg
The Joy of Cooking is by now a classic, a Bible of cooking. An encyclopedic tome of procedures, material and recipes. I shall not attempt to cover its many virtues here, but instead I would like to focus on two reasons why you MUST get this book:
LEARNING TO COOK The Joy of Cooking is more than just a recipe book. It's a textbook. As a student, living on my own and having to take my first steps in the kitchen, this book was a life saver -- it taught me how to cook. Other cookbooks are mere collections of recipes: If you follow them carefully, you have a good chance at ending up with something close to what the author intended. But most cookbooks don't teach you anything about preparing food -- they're just recipes -- so you never really understand, for example, how different doughs are made and how they're used for different breads and pastries, or what kinds of fish should be broiled, fried or cooked, etc. The Joy of Cooking teaches you all that, and much more. If you take the time to actually read the descriptions at the start of each chapter, as opposed to just searching for and following a recipe, you will understand how to cook. The importance of this is immense: If you actually understand what your doing, as opposed to simply following directions, you can improvise, invent new recipes, correct any problems/mistakes/errors, etc. You will begin to think like a Chef. I own many cookbooks, but the Joy of Cooking is one of the very few that actually attempts (and does such a wonderful job) teaching you how to cook. You shouldn't miss up on this opportunity. It's very clear, very well-written, and is ideal for those that are taking their first steps in the kitchen.
RARE AND DIFFICULT TO FIND RECIPES While the Joy of Cooking can't contain each and every ethnic food, it is quite encyclopedic nonetheless. Often, I search dosens of cookbooks, surf the internet, ask friends, only to discover that what I'm looking for is already in the Joy of Cooking! I should have consulted it first! Do you realise that the Joy of Cooking will teach you how to make marshmellows, Halwa, Turkish pastry dough (for borekas), candy, and many other not-so-easy-to-find recipes? And all from scratch: Marshmellows are essentially whipped sugar syrup and gelatin. Halva is essentially sugar syrup and raw tehini sauce. Making Turkish pastry dough is an involved process that takes time and precision -- all the steps for which are in the Joy of Cooking. While I have all these recipes in other books as well, I have no other SINGLE book that contains them all. The Joy of Cooking is encyclopedic and diverse, its scope as far as procedures or ethnic foods are concerned is enormous. This should be your first cookbook, and unless you're looking for some really exotic procedures and recipes, it could very well be your only cookbook.
265 of 277 found the following review helpful:
Contents excellent, book quality horridMar 21, 2001
This review is for the spiral-bound edition.
I'll start with the written content: this cookbook is a complete guide not just for cooking, but for food as a whole. There are recipes for every conceivable type of consumable. Beverages (nonalcoholic and alcoholic), appetizers, snacks, candies, jellies, desserts, sauces/toppings, stuffings, and what goes in-between: simple entrees to full-blown multi-course dinners. The instructions are detailed and easy to understand. Unlike cookbooks that tell you to "cut into fillets and braise until done" or "serve with a piquant sauce," the directions take you through step-by-step, always explaining what is really meant. The ingredients range from items found in any supermarket to the more obscure near-alien things that will require serious searching, although most of the ingredients are quite reasonable. There are numerous illustrations throughout, finally letting mankind in on the secret of why some coffee cakes look like they were made from the inside out.
Not just recipes, either. This book includes detailed information on selecting, testing for/maintaining freshness, storing (including an entire chapter on freezing), preparing, and cutting the food. Different types of fruit are explained. Half a dozen pages are devoted to informing the reader about wine. Cuts of beef are explained here; JoC finally explains why chuck is chuck and tip is tip, and where they come from. Table decor, place settings, and appropriate wine glasses are explained too.
The writing style is joyful. Clearly, the authors do not just enjoy cooking, serving, and eating the food... they like talking about it, too. There is a gleeful sense of humor throughout, and anecdotes about where the food originated from and how it got its preposterous name. The contents of this cookbook are a treasure.
Now for the bad part: the physical book. Had the pages been printed on better quality paper, I would upgrade this poor excuse for a tome to galley status. The paper is clearly manga paper, almost (but not quite) as good as the quality of the phone book paper of your yellow pages, yet not quite as thick. The pages are transparent enough that you do not need to turn the flimsy page to see what is printed on the other side. The text size is small, the same size as the print of the listings in a phone book. The ink quality is atrocious; it's obvious that the photocopying machine used to crank out these pages was running out of toner, giving the book dark-text pages and fuzzy pale-text pages. Sometimes it's hard to tell whether the text is in bold print or if the toner cartridge went into its final death throe. The spiral spine is cheap plastic and does not allow easy page-turning. The quality of this (physical) book is absolutely ridiculous.
That's five stars for the content, one star for the physical book.
88 of 94 found the following review helpful:
The Original and BestOct 09, 2001
By Christian P. Johnson
(But don't buy the spiralbound!)
I'd been looking for the old, good, real Joy for a while, and found it in the spiral-bound format at a certain unnamed competitor of Amazon. Bought it on the spot, and almost immediately regretted it - what thin, cheap paper! It's like trying to read Kleenex. I left it at my beach share for the summer and the humidity alone made the thing swell noticeably.
Now, as for the contents: Joy is not for the contemporary "beginning cook," since microwaves have ensured that today's beginners know nothing at all about cooking (indeed, judging from some of the comments here, they barely seem to handle the concepts of "reading" or "visualizing without pictures"). The value is for the cook having both basic skills and the inclination to educate him- or herself. Irma and daughter Marion make wonderful companions, providing a strong, sympathetic editorial voice throughout. (Unlike the dreadful 1997 rip-off perpretrated by greedy, grave-robbing grandson Ethan, who consigned the actual writing over to a 40-odd-person committee - and it shows.) Especially helpful are longish sections detailing cooking processes and ingredients, which provide a cook with the wherewithal to vary recipes as needed.
The recipes themselves are mostly classics, with some for the ambitious and others that are perfectly suitable for day-to-day. A few even reflect changing diets, with lower-fat and -calorie variations, but the emphasis is definitely on standbys.
This is a book to learn with and to treasure. Just do yourself a favor and get the hard-cover!
45 of 46 found the following review helpful:
Hardbound versus Spiral bound?Jun 09, 2000
By Suzy Vander Vos
Without going into any long saga, let me just say that if the spiral bound addition had been given to me 23 years ago as a wedding shower gift, it would not be with me here today. The binder does not allow for easy opening of the book, or turning of the pages, and the paper is of inferior quality. It is too thin, too flimsy on the fingers. I do not believe it will last. I just purchased this version for my 19 year old collage student, and want to return it for the hard bound edition. There will always be those who don't approve of change. If some things have been omitted and replaced with others, there are always reasons for such changes even it we don't agree with them. My copy(hardbound) is 23 years old and still going strong. All of my kid's pick it up when they cook, without my influence at all. It is the most important cooking manual on my shelf, and I own hundred's of cookbooks. If the general layout and feeling remain the same, I would only recommend the spiral addition with the proper changes.
45 of 47 found the following review helpful:
Throw your other cook books away!Jul 13, 1998
I've been cooking for thirty years and tried almost every popular cook book printed. My mother had the first version of this book, and I've bought new copies every five years or so, when the pages just wouldn't stay in the book anymore! (and it wasn't because of a poor bindery job, either!) I now have only this book and my personal collection of recipes. Now my current copy has fallen apart and I'm buying another. If you want to know how to cook just about anything, in any manner (including pit cooking!) and have fun reading the directions, this is the version of Joy of Cooking you want to own. Nutritional information, preserving, storing food . . . I've even tried the canning and pickling. The instructions are extremely complete.
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