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Credit: Joe Lingeman

Let’s Cook from a Classic! Our December Pick for Kitchn’s Cookbook Club Is Joy of Cooking.

updated Dec 4, 2019
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Greetings, Cookbook Club-ers! I hope you all had a restful Thanksgiving and enjoyed cooking out of Sister Pie last month. I made the honey lemon meringue pie for my Thanksgiving dinner and it was a huge hit (and an excellent excuse to buy a culinary torch, might I add). Other members of our Facebook group said that they loved the salted rosemary shortbread, the hand pies, the smoked paprika peanut butter cookies, and the salted maple pie. What did you end up making?

So, onwards to December. I’m so excited to share (albeit a little belated — sorry!) that Kitchn’s cookbook club pick for December is none other than the 2019 edition of the Joy of Cooking. If you have an older edition, that’s fine too, but we’ll be sharing recipes from the new edition and interviewing the authors from this version.

Kitchn’s cookbook club is a digital one (although we encourage people to get together IRL as well!). Here’s how it all works.

  1. Get the book! You can buy the book here or look for it at your local library.
  2. Join Kitchn Cookbook Club Facebook group. This is our private space for all of you to talk about the book, ask questions, and chat about what you’re cooking. Click here to join! It’s very active.
  3. Share a recipe review on Instagram and tag with #kitchncookbookclub. Make a recipe from Joy of Cooking. Post a photo of your dish on Instagram, with a short review of the recipe in the caption.
Credit: Joe Lingeman

Why Joy of Cooking Is Our December Cookbook Club Pick

This is probably a little embarrassing to admit as someone whose whole career has been centered around food, but I’ve never cooked from any edition of Joy of Cooking. My parents own a dusty copy somewhere in the kitchen, but I’m not sure it was ever used after I was born (my bad). I knew this needed to change — and fast.

Joy of Cooking isn’t just a cookbook. It’s a tome. It’s a cooking “bible.” It’s a classic. This cookbook has been teaching new and advanced cooks for close to 90 years, and in that time there have been nine editions. The first was written and self-published by Irma S. Rombauer in 1931, and the latest was co-written by her great-grandson John Becker and his wife, Megan Scott. In those 90 years, over 20 million copies of Joy of Cooking have been printed.

John Becker and Megan Scott have been working on this 2019 edition of the cookbook for over five years. They have added 600 new recipes and updated the 4,000 existing recipes in the book. The new recipes speak more directly to how we cook today — you’ll find more vegan, gluten-free, and global recipes in this edition.

So, why did we choose this cookbook for Kitchn’s Cookbook Club? Because I had a sneaking feeling that like me and my parents, there’s a good chance you either have an older copy you haven’t opened in awhile, or you’ve never cooked from the book and are missing out on one of the most important culinary achievements of the last century. (Not to be too dramatic, but it’s true.) And because the 2019 edition just came out in November this year, we thought it would be a good time to explore the updated version and figure out what makes it so special.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Get the Book

I announced our pick for December in our Facebook group last week, and many of the members who hadn’t cooked from older editions were a little intimidated. I mean, it’s a lot of recipes! If you don’t know where to start, a couple of people mentioned a fun way to explore the book: Close your eyes, flip through the book, and open to a random page. Then, cook whatever is on that page! When I did that I got cake doughnuts — sounds like my breakfast just got way more interesting.

Can’t wait to see what you all make!
— Arie, News & Culture Editor