© 2012 The Joy of Cooking Trust and the MRB Revocable Trust
By Irma Rombauer
Published by Bobbs-Merrill, 1939
Written by Irma Rombauer in 1939, Streamlined Cooking is one of Irma's forgotten books. Written at a time when more and more women were entering the workforce, leaving them less time to spend in the kitchen. Irma's approach was not to take the "easy way out." She was simply addressing a need expressed by a changing body of home cooks. This book, according to the dust jacket, has several specific demographics in mind:
to the business woman who hurries home from the office to prepare the evening meal; to the housewife on maid's day out; to the woman who has no maid and only a limited amount of time to devote to cooking;
to the young daughter who gets the dinner on the night her mother must be away; to the camper, the trailer-dweller, the vacationist in a summer cottage; and, yes, to the husband who batches alone at home.
While Irma certainly took pride in the dishes that came from her kitchen, she was not a slave to the stove. An ardent socialite, Irma reveled in constructing dishes quickly so she could get out of the kitchen and back to her community. Streamlined Cooking is an ode to that mentality. Irma was not afraid to break out canned soups, electric mixers, and ingenuity if it meant greater efficiency. The Joy of Cooking compromised on efficiency in the belief that not everything worth eating can be made in 30 minutes or less. Streamlined Cooking gives precedence to speed.