By Sara Johnson
Before Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Alice Waters’ The Art of Simple Food, and Betty Crocker’s Cookbook, there was Irma S. Rombauer’s Joy of Cooking, a book that grew to become a household kitchen bible following its first publication in 1931. On November 12, Rombauer’s great-grandson John Becker and his wife, Megan Scott, released their revision of Joy of Cooking (Scribner, 2019), which now includes notes on sous vide—while also remaining a reference for pie crust and so much more.
Scott explains that she and Becker took about eight months to comb through the previous edition and create an outline of items they wanted to edit, add, remove, fact-check, or re-test. This new tome includes a whopping 600 new recipes, which meant that some recipes—Scott calls out ham loaf and fish loaf among them—met the chopping block. Others were revised for today’s cooking trends; for example, the recipe for Green Bean Casserole includes options for using either canned cream of mushroom soup or the book’s own Creamed Mushrooms. “We try to advise people to keep their old editions and get the new one, because it is going to be a little different,” Scott says.
Sous vide is now in the Joy of Cooking lexicon, and immersion circulator options are sprinkled throughout the recipes. “It’s definitely a great cooking method for doing big batches, doing parties, and whatnot…when you’re assured that all of the meat is cooked to the right doneness and all you have to do is brown it for guests,” Becker says.
But for sous vide fans, the pièce de resistance is located on page 1,055 of the 1,156-page cookbook. Here, the authors have included a reference chart for sous vide cooking times and temperatures for 14 foods from eggs to duck breast to beef tenderloin.
“Obviously sous vide has moved from something that’s within modernist cuisine as a curiosity for chefs and rich folk to something that’s easily accessible for most people,” Becker says. “You spend more on a stand mixer than you do on a good sous vide unit at this point.”
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