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Joy of Cooking, the cookbook


JaclynM
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I've only been cooking on a regular basis for the last few months (I got married in July). A few years ago, when I was starting to build up my cookbook collection, I ordered the 1997 edition of Joy of Cooking. The reviews on Amazon stated that it had left out some good recipes and techniques from 1975, so I bought that edition too.

Now that the 75th anniversary version is out, I hear that this is more like the 1975 book. I've asked my husband to get it for me for Christmas, and if he does, I plan to toss the 1997 book. But is it still worth holding onto the 1975 one?

Edited by Smithy
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why would you toss any cookbook?  i'm sure there's someone who would love a copy...there's a thread on eGullet for people exchanging free cookbooks...you could sell it...etc.  they're all good.

Thanks for the reply. :biggrin: I didn't actually mean "toss" in the literal sense. I meant "toss" as in, get rid of. I would either sell it on eBay, or donate it to the library, etc.

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  • 2 years later...

I was wondering if anyone knows which Joy of Cooking is the best to own, because I heard the new revised edition has left many wonderful recipes out, and replaced with newer ones. I am definitely looking for the edition that includes canning.

Edited by cupbaker (log)
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The new, revised issue does indeed still include canning directions.

It is, however, missing a lot of the older sort of "home" recipes, None of the squirrel, possum, bear, muskrat, headcheese, etc. stuff and not as many recipes that include lard, suet, tallow, and the like. I'd suggest getting the newest issue and then scouring ebay or a thrift store for an old one, to keep on hand as a kind of reference guide to how America cooked in 50-60 years ago. It's almost like an American version of the Gastronomique.

"A culture's appetite always springs from its poor" - John Thorne

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JoC is my family's go-to basics cookbook, so we have several versions. My grandmother got the version that came out in the late '30s for her wedding (in the '40s) and my mother got the version that was updated in the '70s (I think 1972?) for hers. Both of those have recipes we've used for years. Whenever I come across an ingredient I've never used before, I check one of our JoC's to see what it has to say, even if I don't necessarily use the recipes provided. Same with new techniques. The pictures are great.

I got my mom the 1997 update for her 25th anniversary, and it was awful. The recipes we tried are all just a little off, like they weren't tested fully. Plus there were a lot of classic recipes that just weren't there.

I had to redeem myself, so I had my dad get her the 75th anniversary edition a couple of years ago for Christmas. We like this one a lot. It has a little bit of a weird structure (recipes are organized by ingredient rather than by course/type), but there's a great mix of classic recipes and new updates. It's very thorough. This is what I'd recommend if you're looking to buy today, and it's my go-to wedding shower present.

The recipes we always use from the JoC are the apple crisp, brownies cockaigne, and ginger thins.

ETA: If the 75th anniv. edition isn't to your taste, I'd go for the '70s edition. And look for it in spiral bound for ease of use.

Edited by emilyr (log)

"Life is a combination of magic and pasta." - Frederico Fellini

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What we always tell our students is to look through the book and make sure the edition includes the illustration of how to skin a squirrel. Then you're safe.

And yes, a spiral bound edition does make it easy to use. Mine is paperback, and it's kind of a pain -- never wants to stay open.

What you really want to avoid is that revised "new" edition, as emilyr mentioned above.

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I have an old edition given to me when I was 17 - that is approximately 40 years ago. I am guarding this book carefully - it is dry and brittle in the binding and it seems as if it could fall apart at any moment. I looked into replacing it with a newer model and I just could not do it. Too much is missing. Nevertheless, if I did not have my old one, I would buy the new one, just to have a great all purpose guide, and I would hunt down an edition that is at least 20 years or more old.

Edited by Merridith (log)

I've got one body and one life, I'm going to take care of them.

I'm blogging as the Fabulous Food Fanatic here.

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If you are searching for some really old copies of JoC, look here and here. You can still find some copies of the 1975 edition. You can even find some really old ones: a 1943 hardcover edition in very good condition cost me $20.00, and you can pick up a mint first edition for a mere $4,500.00. :wink:

Edited by Batard (log)

"There's nothing like a pork belly to steady the nerves."

Fergus Henderson

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I was offered one of the newer edition for review and it does cover most bases but because it lacks some of the old fashion recipe people expect in this book, many do not like it. So my suggestion is to find out exactly why you want this type of encyclopedic book and make your choice based on that.

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This Times article from 2006 digs into the question.

I can't really comment ... my copy is the 1964 version, found in a box in a high school darkroom. I keep it around because there's a recipe for 'possum (it starts with "Trap 'possum"), and a hand-drawn diagram on skinning a squirrel.

Edited by paulraphael (log)

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