I have two new cookbooks in my kitchen cupboard this month. My mother-in-law and father-in-law gave Joy of Cooking: 75th Anniversary Edition to my husband and me this Christmas.
The Joy of Cooking is one of the United States’ most-published cookbooks, having been in print continuously since 1936 and with more than 18 million copies sold. It was privately published in 1931 by Irma S. Rombauer, a homemaker in St. Louis, Missouri, who was struggling emotionally and financially after her husband’s suicide the previous year. Rombauer had 3,000 copies printed by A.C. Clayton, a company which had printed labels for fancy St. Louis shoe companies and for Listerine, but never a book. In 1936, the Bobbs-Merrill Company, a commercial printing house, picked up the book.
In 2006, a 75th Anniversary edition was published, containing 4,500 recipes and returning Rombauer’s original voice to the book. The new version removes some of the professionalism of the 1997 edition and returns many simpler recipes and recipes assisted by ready-made products, such as cream of mushroom soup and store-bought wontons. The 2006 edition also reinstates the cocktail section and the frozen desserts section, restoring much of the information that was deleted in the 1996 edition.
The new version includes a new index called “Joy Classics” that contains 35 recipes from 1931-1975 and a new nutrition section.
I’ll add my thoughts as I work my way through the book.