Soups and stews are much-loved kitchen standbys, and the reasons are obvious: they can be made out of just about anything on hand, they can serve as a starter course or as a nutritious one-pot meal, and most can be made ahead of time. So it's no surprise that the folks over at The Joy of Cooking
headquarters thought to devote an entire volume of their All About series to these fabulous dishes.
Adapted from The Joy of Cooking, this volume is coauthored by original Joy author Irma Rombauer, her daughter Marion Rombauer Becker, and her grandson Ethan Becker. It retains the conversational yet instructional tone that made the original such a favorite, and covers everything a cook needs to know to become a master of soups and stews. It is a comprehensive treatment of the subject, with 130 recipes, but, more important, it carries on the teaching tradition of Joy by explaining what may seem like mysterious secrets to the inexperienced cook but turn out to be easy-to-follow rules. Once incorporated into one's repertoire, these techniques can transform a person from a novice to a truly accomplished cook. For instance, the authors point out that simmering a stock too long can result in bitterness and explain exactly how to tell when it has simmered long enough (when a piece of meat retrieved from the stock is completely devoid of flavor). Since good stock or broth is arguably the most vital element in any soup or stew, the book offers easy-to-follow instructions for all types of bases--including vegetable, fish, chicken, beef, game, and even "express" chicken and beef stocks for those short on time.
Like the original Joy, this volume covers the classics, such as Potato Leek Soup, Fresh Tomato Soup, and Beef Stew, and surprises with a delightful array of more unusual fare, such as Tomato Jalapeño Chilaquiles, Mongolian Hot Pot, and Wild Caribbean Black Bean Chili. Early editions of Joy used the phrase "making the pot smile" to describe the gentle simmering required for soups and stews. This volume gives not only the pot but the people who eat what's inside many reasons to smile. --Robin Donovan
About the Author
Irma Rombauer self-published the first Joy of Cooking in 1931 with the small insurance payout she received after her husband committed suicide during the Great Depression. Suddenly, society wives who used to enjoy a kitchen staff no longer had the money to employ them and began cooking for themselves. The instruction "stand facing the stove" was a bit more pragmatic than we realize. In 1936, the first commercial edition was published by Bobbs-Merrill. Marion Rombauer Becker, Irma's daughter, joined the Joy dynasty and revised and updated each subsequent edition until 1975. That edition was the first after Irma's death and was completely Marion's. Her son, Ethan Becker, has returned the book to the family's voice, revising the 1975 edition for the 75th Anniversary Edition.
Ethan Becker is the son of Marion Rombauer Becker and the grandson of Irma S. Rombauer, the original author of The Joy of Cooking. He attended Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, but learned how to cook from his mom. An outdoors-man, he is a master of the grill and at cooking game. His outdoor gear and survival and combat knives are sold internationally under the brand Becker Knife and Tool. Ethan and his wife, Susan, a writer, editor, and artist, live in East Tennessee at their home, Half Moon Ridge. His website is TheJoyKitchen.com.