The Joy of Cooking: Do You Have a Favorite Edition?

published Mar 5, 2013
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Despite the avalanche of cookbooks dumped on us every year, you will still find the Joy of Cooking on the top of many people’s most used, most loved cookbook lists. While the Betty Crocker and Better Homes and Gardens cookbooks have perhaps sold more copies, it’s Joy that’s the most beloved, handed down from generation to generation. I myself have three versions on my book shelf (1963, 1975, and the controversial 1997 editions.) How about you? What’s your favorite edition of the Joy of Cooking?

There are currently two editions of the Joy of Cooking still in print: the 75th Anniversary 8th Edition, published in 2006, and the 7th Edition, published in 1997. The 8th edition is seen by many as a correction to the 1997 edition, which modernized the Joy, but not to everyone’s liking. I personally like the 7th Edition and am not at all offended by the addition of ingredients and recipes from Asia or to find a recipe for Grilled Fish Tacos. Both editions have their place, in my opinion.

The 6th Edition was published in 1975 and was the last to be edited by Marion Rombauer Becker, the book’s original illustrator and daughter of its original author, Irma Rombauer. The 6th Edition is the bestselling edition of all time. The “Know Your Ingredients” section was a godsend to those of us who starting cooking in the days before the internet.

The 5th Edition was published in 1963, but not before a rouge edition full of errors had been released behind the authors’ backs in 1962. (While the 1962 edition is probably a collector’s item, its many errors mean it’s not a very useful cookbook.) The 1963 Edition established Joy as America’s kitchen bible and was seen as an essential cookbook for home cooks and professionals alike.

The Fourth Edition was published in 1951, the Third in 1945/1946, the Second in 1936, and the original was published in 1931.

The Joy of Cooking has a very nice website with lots of history, photographs, and new content, such as posts on buying organic and how to buy and use kumquats. The site is really lovely and easy to navigate. It’s nice to see this venerable institution represented so well on the swift and sparkling internets. Way to go, Joy!

Do own a copy of the Joy of Cooking? Did it come to you from your mother? Do you own more than one? How often do you use it these days?

Visit the Website: The Joy of Cooking