Saturday, February 06, 2010

Five best cookbooks

Alton Brown, a Food Network host and commentator, and author of Good Eats: The Early Years, named a five best list of cookbooks for the Wall Street Journal.

One title on the list:
The Joy of Cooking
by Irma S. Rombauer
Bobbs-Merrill, 1936

Maybe it's because I inherited "The Joy of Cooking" from my paternal grandmother, a true witch of the baking world, or because her edition, the sixth, was published in 1962, the year I was born. Or maybe it's because even this 1960s "Joy" was still packed with old-fashioned tips like the carefully laid out instructions for skinning a squirrel. As the diagrams show, the skinning process is easy once you get the tail under your foot. Whatever the reason for my attachment to the particular volume on my shelf, I'm also a "Joy" fan no matter the edition: Every recipe is written in the book's unmistakable style, with ingredients and amounts seamlessly integrated into the instructions. For me this is still the quintessential American cookbook. Try the baked herring and potatoes or sourdough rye. Or perhaps the roast squirrel with walnut ketchup.
Read about another cookbook on Brown's list.

Also see: T. Susan Chang's 10 best cookbooks of 2009, the Independent's ten best list of children's cookbooks, and Kate Colquhoun's top 10 unusual cookbooks.

--Marshal Zeringue