Seventy-five years ago, a St. Louis widow named Irma Rombauer took her life savings and self-published a book called The Joy of Cooking. Her daughter Marion tested recipes and made the illustrations, and they sold their mother-daughter project from Irma's apartment.
Today, nine revisions later, the Joy of Cooking -- selected by The New York Public Library as one of the 150 most important and influential books of the twentieth century -- has taught tens of millions of people to cook, helped feed and delight millions beyond that, answered countless kitchen and food questions, and averted many a cooking crisis.
Turkey steals the thanksgiving show, but we all know the side dishes really shine potentially overshadowing Tom Turkey. Prepare a few well-chosen side dishes along with some family favorites to grace the table. Select your favorite pumpkin or JOY’s Mock Mincemeat Pie, or both, to end the meal and the job is complete, except for the cooking!
About 4 cups
Combine in the top of a double boiler set directly on medium-low heat:
2 to 4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon minced onion or leek, or 1 small garlic clove, minced, or 1⁄2 cup minced celery
Cook, stirring, until the butter is melted and the onion is tender but not browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in:
1 to 11⁄2 pints shucked oysters, coarsely chopped, with their liquor
11⁄2 cups milk
1⁄2 cup heavy cream
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄8 teaspoon white pepper or paprika
Place the top of the double boiler over, not in, boiling water. When the milk is hot, and the oysters float, remove the soup from the heat and pour a small quantity over:
2 beaten egg yolks.
Mix well, then slowly return this mixture to the hot soup. Heat over low heat for 1 minute; do not allow to boil. Add:
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Serve at once.
About 5 cups
Heat in a soup pot over medium heat:
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
Add and cook until translucent, about 8 minutes:
1 cup minced onions
1⁄2 cup minced celery
3 cups canned pumpkin or 2 pounds fresh pumpkin, cooked
3 cups scalded milk, 997, or chicken stock or broth
(3⁄4 cup heavy cream or half-and-half if you are using the chicken stock)
(1⁄2 cup finely julienned ham)
1 tablespoon sugar or 2 tablespoons brown sugar
(1⁄2 teaspoon ground ginger)
(1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon)
Salt and black pepper to taste
Heat through, but do not boil. Puree and reheat.
Cut out the tough end of the stem of:
Cut into florets. Place in a large pot and add:
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock or broth or water
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
Bring to a simmer and simmer until the cauliflower is tender, about 10 minutes. Add:
1⁄2 cup heavy cream, half-and-half, or whole milk
1 tablespoon butter
Mash, or puree in a food processor. Season with:
Black pepper to taste
(1 tablespoon chopped parsley or tarragon)
Root vegetable puree
4 to 6 servings
The potatoes lend this puree a light texture and delicate flavor.
Place in a large saucepan:
8 ounces all-purpose or baking potatoes, peeled and thickly sliced
Add water to cover generously, bring to a boil, and cook for 5 minutes. Add:
1 pound carrots or parsnips, peeled and cut into thick slices, or 11⁄2 pounds celery root, salsify, turnips, or rutabaga, peeled and diced
Continue to cook until the potatoes and other vegetables are completely tender, about 25 minutes. Drain and return the vegetables to the pan. Over low heat, mash the vegetables with a potato masher or beat with a hand-held mixer until smooth. Or, for the smoothest texture, puree in a blender or food processor. Mix in:
1⁄2 cup milk or heavy cream
11⁄2 tablespoons butter, softened
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon white pepper
Taste and adjust the seasonings, and heat through.
Creamed pearl onions
This dish can be assembled 1 day ahead, covered, and refrigerated, then baked when ready to serve.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Drop into a large saucepan half-filled with cold water:
1 pound pearl onions
Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, remove the onions and peel, then return to the boiling water. Simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain, reserving 1⁄3 cup of the cooking liquid. Transfer the onions to a shallow greased 2-quart baking dish.
Melt in a small saucepan over medium heat:
11⁄2 tablespoons butter
11⁄2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Cook, stirring occasionally, over low heat until fragrant but not colored, about 3 minutes. Add the reserved cooking liquid, along with:
1⁄2 cup milk
1⁄2 cup half-and-half or additional milk
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon black or white pepper
(1⁄8 teaspoon grated or ground nutmeg)
Bring to simmer and cook, whisking constantly, 3 minutes. Pour the mixture over the onions and sprinkle with:
(1 cup shredded Swiss; about 4 ounces)
Bake until bubbly, about 15 minutes.
Whole Berry cranberry sauce
6 to 8 servings
Combine, bring to a boil, and stir until the sugar is dissolved:
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
Boil the syrup 5 minutes. Add:
4 cups cranberries (1 pound)
Simmer the berries in the syrup very gently, uncovered, without stirring, until the berries are translucent, about 5 minutes. Skim off any foam. Add, if desired:
(2 teaspoons grated orange zest)
Pour the berries into 1 large or several individual molds that have been rinsed in cold water. Chill until firm. Unmold to serve.
Mock Mincemeat Pie
One 9-inch double-crust pie
This JOY classic originally appeared in the 1931 edition.
Cut into pieces:
11⁄2 cups seeded raisins
Peel, core, and slice:
4 medium-sized tart apples or a combination of apples and green tomatoes (3 cups)
Combine the raisins and apples. Add:
Grated rind of 1 orange
Juice of 1 orange (1⁄2 cup)
1⁄2 cup cider or other fruit juice
Cover these ingredients and simmer until the apples are very soft. Stir in until well blended:
3⁄4 cup sugar
1⁄4 teaspoon each cinnamon and cloves
2 to 3 tablespoons finely crushed soda crackers
If the apples are dry, use the smaller amount. This mixture will keep for several days. Shortly before using it, add:
(1 tablespoon brandy)
Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a pie pan with:
Fill it with mock mincemeat. Cover with a pricked upper crust or with a lattice. Bake at 450°F for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°F and bake about 20 minutes longer.
Irma Rombauer self-published the first Joy of Cooking in 1931 with the small insurance payout she received after her husband committed suicide during the Great Depression. Suddenly, society wives who used to enjoy a kitchen staff no longer had the money to employ them and began cooking for themselves. The instruction "stand facing the stove" was a bit more pragmatic than we realize. In 1936, the first commercial edition was published by Bobbs-Merrill. Marion Rombauer Becker, Irma's daughter, joined the Joy dynasty and revised and updated each subsequent edition until 1975. That edition was the first after Irma's death and was completely Marion's. Her son,Ethan Becker, has returned the book to the family's voice, revising the 1975 edition for the 75th Anniversary Edition. Read more...
Marion Rombauer Becker
Irma Rombauer self-published the first Joy of Cooking in 1931 with the small insurance payout she received after her husband committed suicide during the Great Depression. Suddenly, society wives who used to enjoy a kitchen staff no longer had the money to employ them and began cooking for themselves. The instruction "stand facing the stove" was a bit more pragmatic than we realize. In 1936, the first commercial edition was published by Bobbs-Merrill. Marion Rombauer Becker, Irma's daughter, joined the Joy dynasty and revised and updated each subsequent edition until 1975. That edition was the first after Irma's death and was completely Marion's. Her son, Ethan Becker, has returned the book to the family's voice, revising the 1975 edition for the 75th Anniversary Edition. Read more...
Ethan Becker is the son of Marion Rombauer Becker and the grandson of Irma S. Rombauer, the original author of The Joy of Cooking. He attended Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, but learned how to cook from his mom. An outdoors-man, he is a master of the grill and at cooking game. His outdoor gear and survival and combat knives are sold internationally under the brand Becker Knife and Tool. Ethan and his wife, Susan, a writer, editor, and artist, live in East Tennessee at their home, Half Moon Ridge. His website is www.thejoykitchen.com. Read more...
Meet the Joy of Cooking Family
Meet the entire Joy Family including Ethan, Susan and Maggie!
The Joy of Cooking has been a family affair since its first publication in 1931 when Irma wrote the book, and her daughter Marion did the illustrations and helped with recipe testing. Today, the book is in the hands of the third generation Ethan Becker, Irma's grandson and Marion's son. Ethan's son, John, is the fourth generation and is taking an active role at The Joy Kitchen. The JOY Family has expanded to include Ethan's wife, Susan Cope Becker, and Maggie Green, both editors and writers on the 2006 anniversary edition. If you love the JOY, you'll enjoy meeting the people who have kept the book thriving for 75 years.Learn more about the Joy family and history.
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