03 May 2011

Op ALPHABET SOUP: J is for Joy!

Alright, alright. Bad blogger, yeah yeah.

Now that we're through that, let's hit the next letter in our wander through the alphabet as it relates to the kitchen and delectable cuisine. J could be for a lot of things: jalapeƱos, juice, jasmine...or in this case, more simply, joy.

Yes, joy. As in The Joy of Cooking, the quintissential cookbook. It's a large tome, one that has guided countless budding and experienced chefs through classic dishes, culinary techniques, and ingredients galore.

Do not mock me! This is the cookbook. I'm the kind of guy who uses his cookbooks for inspiration more than the recipes. I seem to be fairly incapable of reading a recipe and following it to the word. But when I need a reference tool, or something to show me a long-neglected or never-learned technique (and my chefspiration, Uncle Thom, isn't around to show me in person), it's to The Joy of Cooking that I go.

In short, if you were stranded on a desert island with a pantry full of ingredients and a gas range, you'd want this to be the cookbook you took with you on that ill-fated cruise. It's comprehensive, it's complete – and best of all, since it gets updated on a regular basis, it's current. The original authors are still at it – and in fact, it's a family affair brough to us not just by Irma Rombauer, but Marion Rombauer Becker and Ethan Becker. Presumably writing about food through the decades hasn't caused the family strife seen in the world of music or acting. 

There are plenty of websites devoted to this book – the best of which has to be The Joy Kitchen, which not only features recipes from the book, but a virtual carbon-dating tool that tells you which edition of the cook book you own.

So what are you waiting for, exactly? Get thee to the bookstore nearest you, and pick one up. You know you need it.

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