I like to gush about recipe books (see my review of Falling Cloudberries, below). In fact, a funny things happens; I develop crushes on recipe books. Certainly, there’s a lot of courting going on at the cookbook store where I work on weekends. I spend a lot of time flirting with David Tanis, Jamie Oliver, Rose Carrarini. Someday, when I can afford to, I might just take them home.
That being said, I have stayed true to an old faithful. Joy of Cooking is, it has to be said, an essential. Faults, it’s got. I’ll admit that. Faults such as ambrosia salad, a sturdy belief in shortening, and far too many jellied... well, jellied everything.
I suspect editions older than mine have a how-to section on tying a bow in your hair and serving your husband a martini when he gets home from the office.
But, despite its flaws, Joy of Cooking is solid, like a good advice grandmother, always there when you need her most.
This morning, when I failed twice to poach an egg, I ran to Rombauer and Becker for a refresher lesson.
Later, when I had decided to do something about an old, mushy banana, I flipped to the B’s in the index. After all, a banana bread recipes that’s been in print since 1931 in unlikely to fail.
Also, my lovely friend Emma makes killer oatmeal cookies, and they’re Joy of Cooking as well.
Here’s lunch, a successful poached egg (the key is in the vortex, folks) on asparagus with mizithra cheese.