News and Notes
The New Joy of Cooking
Even if you believe, as I do, that the The Joy of Cooking is a staple requirement for any kitchen, what you may not realize is that the text is anything but sacred. The book has undergone two major revisions since it was originally published in 1931--first, in the 60's by Irma Rombauer's daughter, Marion, and most recently by her grandson, Ethan. Each of the revisions has met with its champions and critics, and the latest edition is no exception. The loudest complaint seems to be the removal of a critic's favorite recipe. And while that is an insult that's hard to stomach, I think that home chefs may have more than their share of "the original is better" prejudice. All I can say about The New Joy of Cooking is that it's like a kitchen oracle. You need to know everything about making pancakes? Look no further than page 793. How about duck confit? (Page 624.) The range of dishes is impressive, and while this guide may be a hair short of encyclopedic, the writing is clear (even if it does have less personality than the original), the illustrations are useful, and the food just plain tastes good. You'd be suprised how hard that recipe is to duplicate.