© 2012 The Joy of Cooking Trust and the MRB Revocable Trust
Published in 1946 by the Bobbs-Merrill Company, A Cookbook for Girls and Boys, by Irma Rombauer, was one of very few cookbooks directed specifically towards children at the time. Illustrated by Irma's daughter, Marion, with her fantastic paper cuttings, this book is a precious but practical guide for young cooks-to-be.
Beginning with a nutrition chart listing the Daily Food for a Young Person and ending with blank pages for the user's own recipes, this book spans all the elements: how to measure, what equipment to use, 22 steps to preparing a meal, how to set the table, and helpful hints for cooking. This is not to mention many simple but delicious and wholesome recipes interspersed with Irma's notorious wit. For instance:
When I lived in northern Germany I used to listen to the cries of the "shrimp women." Every day by the middle of the afternoon they would be on the streets, calling their wares--"Granat, Granat, Granat"--in a singsong tone that still rings in my ears. Then the maids, in their cotton uniforms, their bare arms bright red with cold, would rush out to buy the cooked shrimp for our supper.
Later, when I visited in the country close to the sea, the daily arrival of the shrimp woman was an event which we loved. She was a stron-limbed girl with a wooden yoke across her shoulders from which two wooden buckets were suspended. Every morning she waded into the sea, her skirts tucked up around her middle, her feet bare. She threw out her nets and walked back, dragging them behind her. The catch was usually a good one. Her buckets filled, she would let down her ample skirts, place the yoke over her shoulders and start out sturdily to walk the many miles of her route.
Her buckets were filled with the small silvery creatures, all very lively, and my aunt would buy them by the measure. Then they would be thrown into a great kettle of boiling, seasoned water, in which they turned a delicate pink. They were drained and cooked, and then came the task of shelling them, in which we were sometimes permitted to join. As we sat under an apple tree, we were taught to crack the shrimp by bending them between the third and fourth sections. First the tail was pulled off, then the head and the rest of the shell, and a little half-moon of luscious flesh lay in our hands. It did not take long for it to travel to our mouths. Let the maids sing if they wished; we were content to eat!
Recipes include Eggs à la Goldenrod, Baked Noodle Ring, Shrimp Jambolaya, Pickled Beets, and Chocolate Waffles.