“Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.”
But I did.
It was 78 years ago that a mother and daughter combo wrote the first version of The Joy of Cooking. The iconic kitchen bible (or Koran) came out first in 1931. 9 versions later it was Irma Rombauer’s grandson that continues and adds to the family tradition with the 75th anniversary edition.
This post is not a cook book review – plenty of time for that in the future (and my review is a strong one). This is a review of my personal journey with the book itself.
Dear friends Sherwin and Trudy gave me a copy for Christmas a few years back. I was thrilled! I am not typically overly materialistic – this was an exception. I was excited to have my own copy and confident I would never open it. I rarely follow recipes, reading them isn’t much fun and can be done more efficiently on line. But I wanted a copy for my kitchen and secretly coveted receiving it as a gift rather than buying it. A $36 purchase but to receive a copy continues years and years of the tradition of handing these recipes down.
I took the plastic off and proudly put it on my shelf and there it sat for a year, maybe two. I loved it there. I would wink at it once in a while – it made my kitchen complete. I didn’t show it off, brag about it or plan a future date to have some quality time with it. It was in it’s place and I was in mine. It was the salt of my kitchen – my kitchen would not have been the same without it but you couldn’t really pick it out as as an important element by itself.
I picked it up last summer after being enthralled by On Food an Cooking (which I fell in fast love with) and was shocked to find that the recipes were modern, authentic and ran a wild range from canned tuna casserole through butchering your own meat. The knowledge on the pages alternate between recipes and general knowledge articles. Clear drawings, great tradition and wonderful tips. But this isn`t a review of the cook book – this is a review of judging it by it`s cover.
On opening the book, I got pulled in. I spent a bit of quality time with it before we started to go steady. We would share rides to work, I would bring it to lunch. Many a bowl of Pho were shared in the company of The Joy of Cooking.
It`s about 8 months later. I haven`t read more than 10% of it. We`re over the honeymoon period and have regained our independence. I know it`s there for me when I need it and go back to it about once a month, learn something new and move on. Give this as a gift to someone you care about – or ask for it for the next Holiday of your choice (St Patrick`s Day seems like a fair occasion to me!). To check it out online, click here.