cover image Joy of Cooking

Joy of Cooking

John Becker and Megan Scott, et al. Scribner, $40 (1,200p) ISBN 978-1-5011-6971-7

Irma S. Rombauer’s Joy of Cooking, first published in 1931, gets a massive overhaul in this impressive, timely volume by Becker, Rombauer’s great-grandson, and his wife, Scott. The authors hope to recapture the original’s “vital spark,” they write in their introduction to this ninth edition, which includes more than 4,000 updated recipes and 600-plus new ones. The result is both familiar and refreshing as it globe-trots to include Jamaican curried goat and fiery Indonesian tempeh. The signature method of interweaving ingredients with instructions remains, supplemented with rich troves of information, like a three-page spread on mixing and matching salad greens. There are recipes for items as elementary as popcorn and as complex as a gingerbread house (complete with diagrams). The recipes range from classics to more unusual options: the shellfish chapter covers turtles, and ostrich and emu fillets appear under poultry. Helpful charts abound, and contemporary devices and techniques are incorporated so seamlessly that it’s difficult to spot new bits: for example, the grains section includes recipes for Instant Pots, and, tucked in the breads chapter are instructions for using gluten-free doughs. Becker and Scott have improved upon a classic without bending it so sharply that it will feel dated in a decade—quite an achievement indeed. (Nov.)