There are nearly 20 million copies of Joy of Cooking in print today, and it’s safe to say that most of them are well-worn and close at hand in their owners’ kitchens. Originally self-published in 1931 by Irma S. Rombauer, a widowed St. Louis homemaker, the first commercial edition of Joy of Cooking was published in 1936. Subsequent editions were revised and updated by Irma Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker throughout the 20th century.
This American kitchen bible has now been updated and revised by the next generation of Joy family home cooks: Irma Rombauer’s great-grandson John Becker and his wife Megan Scott. Join them as they tell the story behind the newest edition of Joy of Cooking, a 9-year project that produced a revision that includes 600 new recipes that reflect both food history and how people cook today.
In conversation with the Washington Post’s Joe Yonan, they discuss how they infused the latest incarnation of Joy of Cooking with a contemporary voice informed by culinary tradition, a family's legacy, an encyclopedic coverage of ingredients and techniques, and an understanding of the science behind the food.
Their work produced an edition that features recipes updated to reflect the needs and interests of a multicultural generation of home cooks. It includes vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free recipes, and covers making cold-brew coffee and kombucha as well as standards like Dutch babies, brownies, roast turkey, and apple pie. It also marks the first appearance of several American regional favorites, such as buckeyes, gooey butter cake, Cajun dirty rice, hot-smoked salmon, chocolate babka, Chicago-style deep-dish pizza, and Utica greens.
Copies of Joy of Cooking (Scribner) are available for purchase and signing.