I’m eagerly waiting to see if I’ve won a copy of the latest edition of “Joy of Cooking” (Irma S. Rombauer). My present copy is the 1975 edition. It’s the sixth edition and considered the best-selling version. I’ve heard that some call it a sport to collect all of the publications. I’m not that big of a fan! I am, however, looking forward to the latest because it goes back to its roots by including such things as why it’s essential to use the right salt and why it’s best to buy whole spices and grind them yourself. While I think as we become more experienced, our cooking takes on the personal traits of the chef, I also believe it’s important to learn these subtle nuances which also make a dish “our own.”

Recently widowed Irma wrote the first, self-published edition (1931) with her daughter, who tested the recipes. She seemed to get it right that time and every time, which is the importance of having a cookbook that would address the needs of the busy cook who is splitting their time between work, play, and parenting. Yet they still want to provide quick and straightforward, high nutrition meals for their family. That said, she also seemed to get that once we got the hang of the basics, we would be apt to move into more elaborate meals and, from there hopefully, become the creative geniuses we all perhaps think we are or wish to be. Somewhere along that path, through the use of the wealth of knowledge contained within all of the pages between the front and back cover, we come to realize that while cooking is a science, it is also a healthy dose of magic!

In the latest edition, preserved traditions continue to inspire. It serves the needs of all who wish to explore in the kitchen or wherever they choose to create delightful dishes. Included are not only those things we specifically regard as food but the extras, as well, such as alcohol, which in most cultures serves to enhance and elevate any eating experience

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