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About six months ago, the Joy of Cooking received an invitation from the St. Louis chapter of Les Dames d'Escoffier International. Usually, when people email us, they have no idea that there are only five people who actively represent the Joy of Cooking, and that four of those five are family. As a result, we receive plenty of emails from people who don't know exactly who they're talking to.

There are a few things that I absolutely cannot pass up when they present themselves. A back rub is one, especially if it involves a serious kneading such as one I might give to an especially unruly heap of bread dough. Another is homemade marshmallows...because they're delicate and succulent in ways that commercial marshmallows can only dream of being.

Okay, I realize there are only a few of us that get excited about making our own condiments, but aside from caramelizing sugar and going to a Latin-American or Asian grocery for tamarind concentrate, this one only requires patience and a little space in the back of the fridge. The results are, to my mind, well worth the effort.

As if you really needed another cookie recipe.

The thing about cookies that I find so infuriating is that so few of them are well-balanced, and yet, I can never eat just one (As in, if you sit a box of knock-off Oreos in front of me, I will have at least four.).

As the first hints of Fall begin to make life more pleasant here at the Joy Kitchen, our minds have turned to all of the dishes we plan to test during this year's apple harvest.

Since I've already admitted to culinary heresy by saying I don't like cantaloupe, I have no qualms telling you about my latest blasphemous act of cookery. In an effort to use a very large melon (counter space is dear even out in the country), I tried something a bit daring.

First, it must be said that there is no real "substitute" for the magical effect eight or more hours of smoking has on a pork shoulder. BUT, with a dutch oven and a mix of the right spices, nobody will be missing anything but the tell-tale pink smoke ring.

Fresh fruit is an immaculate gift. The gentle resistance of a cherry's skin beneath the teeth; the dense crispness of an apple; the coy seduction of the fig. Fruit is the original fast food--ready and nutrient-dense, thoroughly pluckable, and easy to love.

So, now that you've got those perfectly ground, formed, and cooked burgers on the platter with the requisite veggies, how can you make those patties sing? A cheese plate with a few out-of-the-ordinary choices is a welcome addition.

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Joy of Cooking App for iPad and iPhone

After three years of collaborative effort with our friends at Culinate and Scribner, it is our pleasure to introduce the Joy of Cooking for iPad and iPhone! Please check out this full-featured, digital version of the 2006 edition. In addition to the recipes and indispensable reference information our readers know and love, the app has many features that are brand new to JOY:

  • Built-in recipe timers (you can have multiple timers going simultaneously)
  • Search for and filter recipes by key word, ingredient, cuisine, season, technique, diet, and more
  • Create shopping lists from within the app
  • Convert any recipe to metric automatically
  • Give voice commands or have recipe steps spoken to you
  • Create menus in the app
  • Share recipes from within the app
  • Color photography

Truly a JOY for the 21st century! Download by directing your browser to www.joyofcookingapp.com. Don't forget to review the app!