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Since its first private printing in 1931, The Joy of Cooking has been teaching Americans how to cook. Craig Claiborne calls it "a masterpiece of clarity" and Julia Child says it's the one book she'd keep if she could only have one English title on the shelf. The nearly 5,000 recipes are handily organized by meal and ingredient, and no cooking instruction goes unexplained, so you can finally understand the difference between poaching and braising. The book includes nutritional information as well as an extremely helpful list of measures and equivalents. You'll find a version of every recipe your mother ever cooked, along with straightforward instructions for cooking more exotic specialties such as turtles and muskrats.
James Beard The classic work, which covers the entire gamut of kitchen procedures and is easy to use.
Cecily Brownstone Important as is the information in this encyclopedic cookbook, it's the imprint of Irma Rombauer's and Marion Rombauer Becker's personalities that makes Joy of Cooking the best loved cookbook to come out of these United States.
Julia Child ...it is definitely number one on my list...the one book of all cookbooks in English that I would have on my shelf -- if I could have but one.
Craig Claiborne The finest basic cookbook available. It is a masterpiece of clarity.
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
(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!