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Book Review: The Joy Of Cooking (2019)

February/March 2020 Issue
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Joy of Cooking: 2019 Edition Fully Revised and Updated
By Irma Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, Ethan Becker, John Becker, and Megan Scott

Weighing in at nearly 5 lb., the latest revision to the timeless Joy of Cooking offers updates throughout its collection of 4,000 recipes and then adds 600 of-the-moment new ones, including the savory Vietnamese pancakes Bánh Xèo, Snapper Veracruz, and Vegan Chocolate Cake. Although the presentation is a classically no-frills affair—mostly words, with some illustrations along the way—authors Megan Scott and John Becker (the great-grandson of original Joy author Irma Rombauer) present content appealing to cooks across the skill-level spectrum. The book starts with information on nutrition and food safety, entertaining, and menus, and finishes with appendices including a glossary of cooking terms and ingredients, recommended cookbooks, cooking methods and techniques, and more. In between, all of those recipes. Vegan? It’s in here. Gluten-free? It’s in here. High altitude? It’s in here. Bear? It’s in here. (Seriously. Braised Bear, on p. 530.) If you bump into Beef Rendang and Guyanese Pepperpot on your way to Chili con Carne, that’s a win. Since everybody’s gotta cook sometime, I can’t imagine a better wedding or graduation gift. This book is both inspirational and a tremendous resource, well worth the shelf space (and reinforcement) it requires.

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