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135 of 137 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a classic: two reasons to get this book
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...
Published on July 19, 2000 by Mayer Goldberg

versus
414 of 433 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars for those who loved the old Joy, some disappointment
I was saddened when I first read the new edition of Joy. The original character of the book, the reasons you ran to the shelf to pick it up, have been brutally edited out of this edition. This was the book that told you how to roast a turkey, make candy or cook preserves. I remember when I was young and I'd picked a huge batch of strawberries, I immediately got out my...
Published on April 14, 1998 by penades@socrates.berkeley.edu


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never found a better cookbook, November 4, 2000
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This review is from: The Joy of Cooking Comb-Bound Edition: Revised and Expanded (Plastic Comb)
The Joy of Cooking, with its versatility, detail, and wonderful scope of recipes, is suited both to the experienced "master chef" and to new cooks. Recipes are generally easy to prepare, the more so because the book has extensive explanations of such areas as cooking techniques, types of sauces, and cuts of meat, simplifying shopping as well. Dishes included range from the simple (but elegant) to the exotic. My only regret in using The Joy of Cooking is that I refer to it so constantly that I need to replace my copies at the dawn of each decade.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An inferior substitute for the real Joy of Cooking..., January 23, 2006
I received this book as a Christmas present from an uncle. Initially, I was thrilled to get it, since my cookbooks tend to be either guides to various world cuisines, books written by Mark Bittman, or hippie cookbooks. These trendier cookbooks are like stylish friends - they're good to hang out with and give my life an interesting flavor - but they aren't like my stepmom's battered old '60s edition of Joy. The old Joy of Cooking is like a grandmother who gives you cookies and biscuits and mac and cheese. A grandmother who teaches you how to make strawberry-rhubarb pie.

The new Joy of Cooking does none of these things. The book which I once trusted as the repository of all information about classic American cooking has become filled with recipes for various Asian-inspired foods. Recipes that I would much rather get from an Asian cookbook or, failing that, How to Cook Everything.

In short, this "All New, All Purpose" edition has taken away much that was valuable from the older editions and replaced it with utter tripe and drivel. It makes me sad, and I haven't opened it more than once or twice. It sits useless on my shelf while my Asian cookbooks and HTCE get steadily more spattered with grease. I'm contemplating stealing my stepmom's real Joy of Cooking.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, although I still have my falling apart previous one, August 6, 2005
By 
A reader (lost on the big blue marble in space) - See all my reviews
This is the basic cookbook I turn to to solve any cooking dilemma. The newer edition has foods more typical of contemporary cooking. It is nice to have an older edition, too, just to thumb through for retro cooking ideas.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Criminy! Why all the complaints??, January 14, 2004
By A Customer
I can't believe the amount of criticism for this cookbook, and mostly because they added ETHNIC recipes to it. Yikes! I wonder if the Penne ala Vodka is too "ethnic" or maybe if they changed its name to "Macaroni with some booze" it wouldnt' offend so many people.
I love this book and I am a novice cook. I like good old American food just like everyone else (macaroni and cheese, brisket, roast chicken, salads, etc.). But occasionally I need a recipe for a more obscure dish like kugel (Yikes! a Jewish recipe!!!) and I was pleasantly surprised to find it in this cookbook...and it's a better recipe than most Jewish cookbooks I have seen.
I also like this book because it lets you use things like canned tomatoes...a lot of these newer fancy Food Network type books frown on that and insist that you peel and seed fresh tomatoes yourself (have they seen what is passing for tomatoes in the average person's supermarket??)
Joy of Cooking has a great section on measurements and equivalents, that I reference a lot. It has a LOT of very basic information about cooking techniques that is very helpful.
Eventually every cook finds the ability to scan a recipe and determine if the ingredients will blend into something they want to eat. It's a matter of trial and error most of the time. You also have to practice yourself to find out what works in your kitchen (e.g., Hunts canned tomatoes taste like aluminum but Progresso are yummy). There is no magic cookbook where everything turns out perfectly all the time. But Joy of Cooking is a good place to start for beginners and has simple explanations and lots of recipes without too many fancy ingredients.
PS -- the macaroni and cheese in here isn't my favorite
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In the top 10 of all cookbooks, July 21, 2008
When you're looking for a particular recipe and you've already scoured 20 or so cookbooks in search of it, just pick up "The Joy of Cooking" and you'll most likely find what you're looking for.

This compact volume was one of my first cookbooks (luckily) and I still refer to it with some frequency. I find that it is particularly useful for basic recipes such as pie crusts. Taking that particular recipe as an example, I made my first pie crusts from their basic recipe (many years ago) and that's the one I still use today, although I have tried others off and on. These recipes have all withstood the test of time.

The book is also filled with all manner of cooking tips and techniques. A well-organized index will direct you to the recipe that you're trying to find. You'll also discover that multiple alternative recipes are offered for the same basic dish so that you can select the one most suited to your tastes.

This cookbook is the workhorse of them all. I would recommend it for both the newbie to cooking as well as to the professional chef as a reference document.

This one gets my highest recommendation -- I can hardly say enough good about it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My go to book for fast everyday family meals, July 22, 2007
By 
Joy (Northern California) - See all my reviews
I'll start this review by saying I consider myself a little bit of a foodie. I have many cook books that cover all the basic types of cuisine we enjoy. Most of these cooks books have been used to execute elaborate dinner parties, to impress. But, when it came it cooking every day food on a budget, I was sometimes at a loss.

I finally broke down and asked my mom for the Joy of Cooking for my birthday. I'd long heard it was a great classic, but had resisted the cliché, since my first name is Joy!

This book has amazed me. For example, I can't count the number of times I had used left-over rice to whipped together a "Chinese fried rice" only to be disappointed. The first time I finally said, hey I have rice left over maybe Joy of Cooking can help me out, I was amazed. The recipe was simple, quick, less oily than what I'd been making, and super delicious.

Now, ever time I'm at a loss for a quick family meal. I look in my fridge to see what ingredients I have lying around, look that ingredient up in the index, and pick a recipe. For me this is the best cook book I could ever have for fast classic meals. For technique, complementary dish ideas and modern cooking I turn elsewhere. But once again this is my new everyday, fast, go to book.

I agree with the other reviewers that the quality of the pages is horrendous. It worries me to think that when I have to replace this book, and I will due to the poor page quality, that many of the recipes may be changed as other reviewers report recipe changes between versions. I would prefer to have a cookbook with pretty photos with each group of recipes. Finally, I just don't understand why this book doesn't include an option weight for baking. The only thing that produces consistent results in baking in WEIGHT measurements.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars what happened to the basics?, May 30, 1999
By A Customer
Can you believe that Joy of Cooking does not even have a recipe for beef stew???? If you have an ox tail handy, you are in luck. The introduction was incredibly pompous. The entire tone of this book turned me off, and when I found that I could not even find simple recipes for simple foods, I stopped looking.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still excellent, December 6, 2001
By 
Hudson Valley thinker (Poughkeepsie, NY USA) - See all my reviews
I agree with one point the former critic makes in that some of these recipes aren't for eveybody. (I mean, how many people are going to need to know how to roast an armadillo?) But it is still the best cookbook to have if you only have one cookbook. Here are two extremely valuable things I discovered, and only from reading JOY. When you make zucchini, you salt the zucchini first, cover to let steam until they become tender - the salt draws the moisture out of them - and then remove the cover for a minute or so longer so that the residual moisture in the pan evaporates. BUT, when you fry onions, DO NOT salt them first or cover them, because they will dry out and steaming onions makes them tough. Now I have never made armadillo or possum. But I fry onions all the time and they come out perfect (tender and just a little bit crisp), thanks to my following JOY's instructions. I have also tried many of the pastries (including strudel) and my guests thought I was trained as a pastry chef. All I did was follow JOY's advice. Now, I think that JOY could be modestly revised - I mean, everybody uses the microwave nowadays and nobody needs to melt chocolate in a double boiler anymore! But for reference and for learning how to make the most basic items and serve them at their most flavorful is JOY's strength. Rombauer-Becker's "About" sections ("About Flour" "About Corn," etc.) are just gold to a part-time cook like me. Love you JOY OF COOKING!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best All-purpose Cookbook, June 6, 2003
This review is from: JOY OF COOKING (Hardcover)
The Joy of Cooking (this original, authentic version) is an indisposable book, a titan among cookbooks for sure. If glowing reviews from world-famous chefs is not enough, just listen to us novices. This book will not teach you every fundamental about cooking (learn from your mother) but it will teach you how to cook and how to understand cooking. This is one cookbook that is more than recipes: its the art and science of cooking.
The thousands of recipes are mostly things you've seen before (lemonade and baked chicken) and some you probably haven't (see Baked Brains in the Beef section). It covers the use of most any ingredient you will see in cooking any dish - vegetable, poultry, or meat - and it will show you how to properly apply heat, add seasonings, and most importantly, how to modify the recipe. Diagrams are few (they aren't generally helpful in my opinion) and explanations can sometimes be short, but the book covers a lot of territory. That said, it is best not to consider the the "only" cookbook - rather, it should be the central one. Complement it with a cooking encyclopedia and a collection of cookbooks from specific regions or styles for a complete cooking set.
No shelf of cookbooks is complete without this book; I would be lost without it. Also, this makes an excellent wedding or birthday gift. Avoid the spiral-bound version, the book needs to be hardcover and well bound because of constant use in the combat zone (kitchen).
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MUCH Better than the old one..., November 14, 2003
I happen to disagree with many reviewers who prefer the older Joy. If you want to learn how to skin opossum and cook rabbit, pick up the old one. Use the new Joy if you want a wealth of information on how to choose ingredients, cooking utensils, and techniques. Everytime I want to cook a new dish, I look for how they make it in the new Joy.
My only complaint is that the new Joy is so huge, the binding on my book is broken. I bought the spiral-bound edition of the old Joy because I thought it would be sturdier, but I never use it because I don't like the recipes.
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The Joy of Cooking Comb-Bound Edition: Revised and Expanded
The Joy of Cooking Comb-Bound Edition: Revised and Expanded by Irma S. Rombauer (Plastic Comb - November 1, 1997)
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