The Joy of Cookingby Published 05 Nov 1997
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Since its original publication, Joy of Cooking has been the most authoritative cookbook in America, the one upon which millions of cooks have confidently relied for more than sixty-five years. It's the book your grandmother and mother probably learned to cook from, the book you gave your sister when she got married. This, the first revision in more than twenty years, is better than ever. Here's why: Every chapter has been rethought with an emphasis on freshness, convenience, and health.
All the recipes have been reconceived and tested with an eye to modern taste, and the cooking knowledge imparted with each subject enriched to the point where everyone from a beginning to an experienced cook will feel completely supported.
The new Joy continues the vision of American cooking that began with the first edition of Joy. It is still the book you can turn to for perfect Beef Wellington and Baked Macaroni and Cheese. It's also the book where you can now find Turkey on the Grill, Spicy Peanut Sesame Noodles, and vegetarian meals.
The new Joy provides more thorough descriptions of ingredients, from the familiar to the most exotic. For instance, almost all the varieties of apples grown domestically are described-- the months they become available, how they taste, what they are best used for, and how long they keep. But for the first time Joy features a complete section on fresh and dried chili peppers: how to roast and grill them, how to store them, and how long they keep-- with illustrations of each pepper.
An all-new "RULES" section in many chapters gives essential cooking basics at a glance: washing and storing salad greens, selecting a pasta and a matching sauce, determining when a piece of fish is cooked through, stuffing a chicken, and making a perfect souffle.
New chapters reflect changing American tastes and lifestyles:
Separate new chapters on grains, beans, and pasta include recipes for grits, polenta, pilafs, risottos, vegetarian chills, bean casseroles, and make-ahead lasagnes.
New baking and dessert chapters promise to enhance Joy of Cooking's reputation as a bible for bakers. Quick and yeast bread recipes range from focaccia, pizza, and sourdoughs to muffins and coffee cakes. Separate chapters cover custards and puddings, pies and tarts, cookies, cakes, cobblers, and other American fruit desserts revived for this edition. Recipes include one-bowl cakes, gingerbread, angel and sponge cakes, meringues, pound cakes, fruitcakes, 6 different kinds of cheesecake-- there's even an illustrated wedding cake recipe, which takes you through all the stages from building a stand, making and decorating the cake, to transporting it to the reception without a hitch.
Little Dishes showcases foods from around the world: hummus, baba ghanoush, bruschetta, tacos, empanadas, and fried wontons.
AII new drawings of techniques, ingredients, and equipment, integrated throughout an elegant new design, and over 300 more pages round out the new Joy.
Among this book's other unique features: microwave instructions for preparing beans, grains, and vegetables; dozens of new recipes for people who are lactose intolerant and allergic to gluten; expanded ingredients chart now features calories, essential vitamins, and levels of fats and cholesterol. There are ideas for substitutions to lower fat in recipes and reduced-fat recipes in the baking sections.
From cover to cover, Joy's chapters have been imbued with the knowledge and passion of America's greatest cooks and cooking teachers. An invaluable combination of old and new, this edition of Joy of Cooking promises to keep you cooking for years to come.
"The Joy of Cooking" Reviews
The 1997 edition is infallible.
The pre-1997 editions are good if you want to can or pickle your own veg, cook opossum, and make aspic.
The fifth edition, ie the 75th Anniversary edition shown in the picture above, contains too much retro-inspired nonsense and does not continue the practical and innovative approach laid out in the 1997 edition.
Basically, the 1997 edition took the heart of the Joy of Cooking, that is, that it is a book that contains all the recipes your average american cook needs, and updated it for the 1997 american palate (added in asian and mexican foods, , removed casseroles made with mushroom soup, etc). The first person narrative of the other editions was mostly removed.
The 75th anniversary editions does no further innovation, and instead adds in some of the older recipes and sections (with limited practical use, in my opion), and adds a good bit of personal narrative back in.
If you're serious about cooking, find the 1997 edition, it will never let you down. If you're interested in the evolution of american recipes from the perspective of the Becker family, the 75th anniversary edition is your book.
I would not consider this my "everyday" cookbook but the The Joy of Cooking is a definite must for anyone that takes their cooking seriously, enjoys spending a bit of time in the kitchen, and needs a good all-purpose reference that covers everything from emergency substitutions to complete banquet spreads.
What do I like most about The Joy of Cooking? It is fairly encyclopedic, covering about as broad a range of cooking topics as it can; while most of the recipes are from the Western tradition, it also dips into some less traditional preparations (e.g., ceviche). The book does not assume that you know anything about cooking -- not sure what a "dash" is? You can look up an explanation for that. What's the difference between a filet and a cutlet? It explains that, too. (HINT: they're basically synonymous.) It has a great index, is organized well, and has recipes to cover almost any occasion and varying degrees of culinary sophistication.
What don't I like about The Joy of Cooking? It's encyclopedic nature can be a little intimidating sometimes. If you already have a good idea of what you want to make, there's a good chance that you'll find a great recipe; if you're looking for ideas though, the text may overwhelm you. Speaking of text -- the pictures are all illustrations. Granted, they're good illustrations but I tend to prefer photos in my cookbooks (helps me decide what to try next).
One last point about The Joy of Cooking: I would recommend it to everyone except vegetarians. The book assumes an omnivore's diet so if you eschew the animals in your diet, I would estimate that greater than half of these recipes would not appeal to you.
In their attempt to modernize the book, the authors omitted many recipes and techniques that are still relevant. Where is Sole Florentine, for heavens sake? And while not many families routinely can or freeze food as a winter survival strategy, there are still times when I would like to know how to do it - when my CSA gives me more corn than we can manage, or when local strawberries are beautiful, fresh, plentiful, and cheap. The lack of ice cream recipes is frustrating, especially given that so many manufacturers are making good quality electric powered ice cream makers.
On the other hand, there are lots of new recipes that reflect the increasing influx of immigrant culture (and food!) into America.
I'd say, Definitely buy this book, but don't chuck your old editions of Joy just yet. You're going to need both!
For Christmas, I decided I was going to have Japanese strawberry shortcake (as in a sponge cake filled with strawberries and cream). I needed a basic sponge cake recipe and couldn't find one anywhere, not even in my usual high-altitude baking bible, Pie in the Sky, nor in the other book I had, The Best Recipe. It was December 24th, the only other recipe I'd found was online from New Mexico but which I did not trust (it asked me to beat the eggs until stiff, a HUGE no-no at high altitude). Almost at the end of my rope, it suddenly occurred to me to try this book.
And I found it: High-altitude Sponge Cake, on page 750!
I now have a beautiful Japanese strawberry shortcake in the fridge chilling until dinner. Christmas Eve is saved, thanks to Joy of Cooking!
i love this old 1973 edition rescued from my mom's basement. the writing style is awesome: you can hear them chiding you for your awkward kitchen skills. heavily uses ingredients that are out of fashion now, so that's historically interesting: lots of parsley, livers, anchovies, tarragon.
the recipes are not all so daunting: some of them are forward-looking to today's minimal cooking in their simplicity and flexibility. saved me many times when my fridge was sadly understocked.
also, you can cook ANYTHING with this. including bear. whale. 'possum. (although for the latter, it suggest you raise it on a diet of milk and grains for a week before boiling it. this book is not for the weak!) i actually enjoy reading this book for fun during breakfast.