Irma Rombauer’s “The Joy of Cooking” (1946)


This is the only copy of “The Joy of Cooking” in my collection.  I bought it from a used bookstore sometime ago.  The inscription inside reads, “To Grandma — Love from Susan & Jimmy 12/22/48.”  Either Grandma really loved this book or it was improperly stored, because the cover is falling off.  My friend Courtney recently commented on how the older versions of this book are so different from the modern edition.  She is very correct because I had great difficulty choosing a recipe out of this one.  I even tried to have my one and half year old daughter pick a recipe.  She flipped a few pages and pointed randomly to “Zucchini”, which is an easy enough recipe but zucchini is now out of season and don’t look very good at the grocery store.  I tried to have her choose something else, but she was no longer interested in helping me. 

I definitely had to pass on these:  “Broiled Calf Brains on Tomatoes”, “Cole Slaw in Tomato Aspic Ring”, “Jellied Pigs Feet”, “Chicken Mousse Jellied”, and “Steak and Kidney Pie”.  (Forgive me if I’ve offended anyone who likes these dishes; I just haven’t had a proper introduction to them.)  I wonder if any of these recipes still exist in the current edition?  This old edition has many baking recipes, but I hesitated to use them because the methods are so archaic.  For instance, all the recipes require that you sift the flour before you measure it; I know — not a big deal, but a little annoying since you usually don’t do this anymore.  Some of the recipes require strange ingredients like the “1 ounce carbonate of powdered ammonia dissolved in 1/2 cup water” needed when making “German Honey Cakes”. 

I did eventually settle on a baking recipe —  “Banana Bread” because I had some overripe bananas to get rid of.  I was able to skip the step of presifting the flour before measuring because I have a kitchen scale and was able to determine the weight of sifted flour.  This banana bread recipe is different from the recipe I usually use because it required bread flour instead of all-purpose flour and butter instead of oil.  It turned out very similar to pound cake (tight crumb and not very moist) and the crust was delightfully crunchy when it was fresh out of the oven.  The bread came out smaller than it was supposed to be because a standard loaf pan nowadays is 9×5, but an 8×4 pan was specified in the recipe.  I liked it and so did my daughter (but she loves all bread).  My husband prefers our usual recipe.

Published in: on December 4, 2009 at 11:03 pm  Comments (2)  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. There are 18 recipes in all the editions of the Joy of Cooking (according to USA Today).

    • Thanks for the info! Very interesting article.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: