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all about joy

75th Anniversary Edition (2006)

Eighth Edition
By Irma Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, and Ethan Becker
Illustrated by John Norton
Published by Scribner
11 printings and counting (click here for a PDF of errata
For a list of our favorite recipes from the 2006 edition, click here

To mark the 75th anniversary of his family heritage, Ethan Becker joined forces with wife Susan to revise the 1975 edition of JOY. This process began with several years of meetings and presentations between family and publisher. Maggie Green joined Susan and Ethan on this revision, working as an editor, writer, and editorial liason. Julia Child consulted with the Beckers on their initial outline for the book and reviewed several chapters. Unlike the 1997 edition, this JOY utilized the talents of a limited number of food experts, each one hand-picked by the Beckers. They were asked to review their assigned chapter(s), revise what needed to be revised, delete what was no longer current, and to use the traditional JOY style and voice. Perhaps the best description of the creation of the Anniversary Edition is in the letter from Ethan Becker:

Five years ago, as we looked to the next revision, Susan and I imagined being able to sit down with Mom and Granny Rom to ask for their direction on this most important project: JOY's 75th anniversary edition. We asked ourselves who held the position they once held as the country's culinary queens and, of course, the only person who came to mind was Julia Child. It was the spring of 2001 when we called and asked Julia to review and critique our vision of the anniversary edition of the Joy of Cooking. She answered with great enthusiasm and grace, "I'd love to, dear, for whatever it's worth."

Just a few months later, we sat around the table at her home in Santa Barbara, California. Our goal, we told her, was to bring Know Your Ingredients back to its full glory, to restore, expand, and revise the teaching text, and bring JOY's voice back loud and clear. We explained that our dream was to base the 2006 edition on the best-selling JOY ever published the 1975 edition the apex of the culinary knowledge that had been compiled and communicated by my mother and grandmother since 1931. On the dust jacket of the 1975 edition, Julia herself was quoted, " is number one on my list...the one book of all cookbooks in English that I would have on my shelf if I could have but one." A few days later, we received a note from her that said, "Thanks for putting the joy back in JOY." We were thrilled. In the coming weeks, Julia reviewed revisions of some of the chapters and blessed our work with her approval. Our friendship with her was short-lived because of her failing health and eventual death, but knowing her and working with her was an honor and a privilege. We thank her for loving the Joy of Cooking enough to give some of her precious time.

JOY was never written without the help of many. Our late cousin Elsa Hunstein, Granny Rom's favorite niece, and her husband, Jack, opened their home to us on two different visits, where we spent hours cooking, eating, talking, and laughing. She shared intimate memories of Granny Rom and Mom working on the JOYs that were published in the 1930s and 40s. From the time she was six years old, Elsa sampled recipes almost weekly at Aunt Irma's. One of her favorite dishes was borscht, and she loved the silver tureen in which it was served. My mother gave Elsa that tureen many years later when Granny Rom died. Then Elsa gave it to us just before she died in 2004. Thanks for everything, Elsa.

Probably the greatest pleasure that has come out of this revision is the relationship we have established with Maggie Green (and her family). Maggie stepped into the position as one of JOY's primary editors with ease and confidence. She has not only persisted through the most challenging parts of this project, but has guided it much of the way. Her efforts, enthusiasm, and dedication to JOY made this very difficult job much easier for everyone involved. She is one of the most organized and productive people on earth, and her infallible memory has made her the guardian angel of this revision. All of us are lucky that she has touched this book with her knowledge, experience, and attention to detail. Know Your Ingredients and Cooking Methods and Techniques, two of JOY's most important reference chapters, were her babies, and it shows. What ever would we have done without her?

Our fearless leader on this monumental project was Beth Wareham, director of Lifestyle Publications at Scribner. Thanks for your devotion to this project, your sense of humor, and your last nerve (it's in a jar on my desk). How will we ever forget the big chart; endless conversations about bizarre minutiae; the infinite list of adjectives; obsessing over hummus, cranberries, finger bowls, frog legs, and grilled pizza; and the many conversations about who is eating what in this country. It's been fun.

Our friends Arch and Shirley Corriher gave of their hearts to the heart of the Joy of Cooking, the Know Your Ingredients chapter. This indispensable chapter has been both restored and revised with expanded and updated information, thanks to contributions from the CookWise author and her husband. And, while we did not personally consult him, we must thank Harold McGee for the hundreds of times we flipped through his fabulous book, On Food and Cooking, for hard-to-find answers to food questions. Culinary historian and writer Anne Mendelson became part of the JOY family many years ago when she wrote Stand Facing the Stove, a book about the Joy of Cooking's history and the women who wrote it. Her chapter on JOY's first seventy-five years is a valuable addition to this revision and celebration of JOY's anniversary.

Ikki and Polly Matsumoto were kind enough to explore illustration styles. Ikki's illustrations in the 1975 edition reflect his incredible talent and precious hours of work with Mom, and they gave us a foundation for the illustrations in this book. Many thanks to John Norton for picking up where Ikki left off and pulling the book together with fresh, sophisticated art and lightning speed.

Our gratitude also goes to all the other experts who put their time and passion into this book to make it all it should be. Author and hunter Rebecca Gray worked on Game and Poultry and Wildfowl to teach us how to cook and Eat Like a Wildman. We appreciate her expertise on foraging, hunting, making maple syrup, and fishing. Pie in the Sky author Susan Gold Purdy went to great heights to ensure that our high-altitude cakes are not only delicious, but doable at every elevation. Her attention to detail and willingness to read chapters proved extremely valuable. Sproutmaster Gil Frishman contributed greatly to the information on Sprouting Grains and Beans, one of our favorite ways of gardening.

For all of us who love to cook on the grill or a campfire, we added a section on hearth cooking, in the Cooking Methods and Techniques chapter, with the help of expert and author William Rubel, who shared his passion and knowledge of The Magic of the Fire. Working with William was easy and rewarding. We thank Elizabeth Andress, director of the National Center for Home Food Preservation, for the hard work she did updating our chapters on canning, freezing, and other methods of keeping food. She helped us bring back this incredibly important reference material to JOY.

Gratitude is also due to Dr. Walter Willett, coauthor of Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy, and chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. JOY's updated nutrition chapter is the result of his practical, sound information and advice. Our appreciation goes to Brian St. Pierre, who was kind enough to add up-to-date information about wine (and beer) with an open, inviting attitude that teaches but does not intimidate. His book A Perfect Glass of Wine led us to this outstanding teacher and writer, who also read each chapter of this tome to ensure that the family's voice was clear and present.

We thank those who gave us recipes and ideas on a number of topics: Hector Gomez, Bonnie Scripps, Gina Gerardhi, our dear friends Alice and Matt MacLeid, and our ever-faithful friend and kindred spirit, Brenda Ward. Our friend Susan Collins, a lady and perfect hostess, recommended that we include information on working with a caterer. Not only is that an addition most of us need, it is a concept that has helped make this JOY even better and up-to-date.

There are two people who labored along side of me as I worked to keep the Joy of Cooking alive and growing during the 1980s. They gave greatly of their energy, knowledge, skills, and devotion to a revision that was completed but never printed, and I appreciate all they did. The world is not the same without them in it. Thank you to the regal Sasha Vereschagin and the spirited Patty Eiser.

Last but not least, I want to thank my wife, Susan, who picked up the phone and called Julia, hired Maggie, and put together the first plan to make this JOY a revision of the 1975 edition. Pestiferous at times, but always persistent, she worked passionately not only for JOY s integrity, but also as a writer and editor on this revision. Susan did everything in her power to make this book a reality. I will always love her for this, as I do for so many, many other reasons.

Happy Anniversary, Granny Rom, Mom, and Pop. I hope you are pleased. We have worked long and hard to put the joy back in JOY.


The Joy of Cooking is the Swiss Army knife of cookbooks. ---The New York Times

JOY can still brag of assets the other lack. Its practice of listing ingredients within the recipe rather than before allows it to dominate with sheer numbers 4,500 recipes rather than the more typical 1,000. And it remains encyclopedic (durian, tobiko, texmati rice), with a muscular index and number-crunching weight and volume charts. ---Associated Press

There are new recipes and new information in this edition, 500 new recipes, in fact. Slow cooker recipes were added for the first time, along with hearth cooking; cook for a day, eat for a week; a grains cooking chart; enchiladas, sushi, flavored vodkas, veggie bean burgers, red velvet cake, smoothies and more. ---Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The anniversary JOY contains a lot of the good old stuff. Tuna Casserole, of course, as well as Cheese Soufflé Cockaigne, a recipe so simple it actually works. The book still includes information you can get nowhere else anymore like can sizes. (If you have an old-time recipe that tells you to use a no. 1 picnic can, where elese are you going to find out that you need to add 10.5 fluid ounces?) ---The Buffalo News

Get the new edition. In the unhappy event of a house fire, grab it as you run out the door. ---Lynn Hoffman

I'll never part with it [the 2006 JOY]. Sections include entertaining, table-setting, menu suggestions, 30-minute dinners, cook for a day--eat for a week, and much more! The book is well-written and precise. Great illustrations. The variety of recipes is enough to satisfy the professional cook, but not intimidate the beginner! Definitely a book for all ages and skill levels! ---Rebecca in Minnesota

I was expecting a lot from the new Joy of Cooking. My copy of the previous edition is in tatters from frequent use. The new edition has managed to update its contents to make it suitable for the modern cook and the modern kitchen, and still retain its charm and homey appeal. No home cook, serious or casual, should be without it. ---From California Wine Country

I love the new edition. Love, love, love it! When it arrived, I sat down and started reading it. This will sound silly, but I actually CRIED because it was so fantastic and brought back so many good memories.

I have used the 1975 edition since I started to cook. It was the first book I would turn to when I wanted to see the "standard" recipe for anything. I loved the friendly tone and always found the recipes reliable, producing consistently tasty results. Its only weakness was that it had become a bit dated, in terms of modern tastes and food trends.

This new edition is a tremendous achievement. It keeps the down-to-earth tone of the older editions while providing a perfect selection of old favorites and new (primarily ethnic) dishes that are widely eaten in the US. The ice cream and pickling/canning sections are restored. It's actually an improvement on the 1976 edition, and that's saying something! ---M. Waring