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Joy of Cooking - various editions

which edition of Joy of Cooking do you like best. Mine had fallen apart and i got the most recent version, which is seen as a return to the earlier version, after the penultimate revisionist one, which had a more international/modern flavor. Personally i liked the one before, better than the newest (and think im'm going to seek out a copy of it)

what do you think?

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  1. I received the Joy of Cooking as a shower gift back in the 70's and the New and Revised Edition as a holiday gift some years later. I've never seen the more modern, international version you refer to. Quite honestly, I've never been that impressed with anything I've made from either book, except for their brownie recipe. Perhaps I'm not the best cook or the recipes were not up to my tastes and standards. Just my 2 cents. I'm sure there are many people out there who feel differently about Joy of Cooking. I refer to it once in a while when I need help with cooking/baking techniques or info about ingredients. I'm sure other Hounds will chime in here with their opinions. Good luck finding the best version for you!

    1 Reply
    1. re: addicted2cake

      I've got a 1980 Rombauer edition, addicted. I've had good luck with the recipes I've used from the book, but there's a part of me that maybe can understand what you're saying. Not about the quality of the results, but about the range of recipes, maybe. I never used it much for cooking, simply because I've never used recipes much at all for cooking (I learned from my mother and what she didn't supply, I was more apt to pick up from magazines when I was learning). But I certainly needed recipes for baking or other desserts, and that's when I went to JOC, my old, beat up Doubleday cookbook, or even the old Betty Crocker. There are specific recipes in JOC whose results have been great for me, but after you've been cooking for a while, you want some new ideas, new twists. I know I can always find the standards in JOC, but for interesting variations, other books have served me better. I do like JOC as a reference book on ingredients, as you mentioned.

    2. I have a copy from the 70s I bought as one of my first cookbooks while still an infant (LOL!) I also have a later version from a few years ago that Ethan Becker, the son, edited. I actually prefer the older version. Have found a lot of the recipes are very useful for classic dishes or master recipes, which I have tweaked and adjusted through the years to suit my family's taste, changing diet and nutritional needs.

      1. Hello everyone! I worked as a primary editor for the 75th anniversary edition of JOY, and I still work with Ethan Becker on a variety of JOY related projects. The 75th anniversary edition was published in November 2006, and the edition prior to that was published in 1997. The 1997 edition was a large departure from the JOY tradition - it cut many classic JOY chapters such as Cocktails, Brunch, Lunch & Supper, Frozen Desserts, Canning, Pickles, and much of the reference material was also cut. Our new anniversary edition restores much of the classic reference material, buy maintains many of the EXCELLENT modern/international recipes that were developed for the 1997 edition. Visit our website www.thejoykitchen.com and learn more about this historic cookbook! EnJOY!

        2 Replies
        1. re: MagKG

          While I'm glad to see the original stuff is back, most of the "international" recipes created for the '97 edition are pretty feeble. I think the "51 and the 75 are the best ones to have, and are also pretty easy to find at 2nd hand stores, and online.

          This new one has some "time-saving" recipes, which are sort of Rayish, if you like that sort of thing.

          1. re: MagKG

            Maybe you can convince them to use a sewn binding instead of glued next edition so the book doesn't fall apart. I really like the older edition due to the sewn binding. I will not buy the next edition if the binding is useless like it is with the 75th anniversary edition.

          2. I have and use three editions: 1975, 1997, 2006. I have used the oldest of these the most and recently ordered a replacement copy because the book had gotten revolting, and was falling apart. I use some recipes, but mostly I consult for technique and ideas.

            I can vouch for the cornbread recipes in the '75 edition wholeheartedly. Also, many years ago one of my children had to bring a U.N. member food dish to school, and I used it to make West African Beef Stew. I made it subsequently several times after that.

            1. If you have the space, I think it's nice to have both versions (old and the 1997-- have never cooked from the 2006). I use the old for all sorts of things-- canning especially. I also always make the drop or rolled biscuits. In fact, these were the first thing I learned to bake. I used to make them for my dad on "casserole night" when my mom was working-- initially I used Bisquik, but then "graduated" to the homemade and have never gone back. Now I use the rolled biscuit recipe to make a crust for pot pie. Yum! The 1997 has some nice recipes-- I love, for example, the French hot chocolate recipe. If forced to choose, I'd probably go with the original, though.

              1. Does anyone have any thoughts on the 1953 edition - just picked up a copy yesterday.

                3 Replies
                1. re: MMRuth

                  Mine's the 1952 edition, which I think is largely the same. I like it a lot and still use it all the time for basic information-- but I have no basis for comparison with later editions!

                  1. re: MMRuth

                    I was given the 1953 edition as a wedding present. I wore it out and a few years ago my son bought me a "new" 1953 edition that had hardly been used. I like this edition better than any of the newer ones. Fabulous for baking and for the basics of cooking everything.

                    1. re: MMRuth

                      MMR, you inspired me to pull my '53 edition off the shelf last night (enough of the football already) and peruse a few chapters. All kinds of great stuff in there! I would definately pull this out if I were going to throw a retro style baby shower or old-fashioned tea.

                      Quirkiest finds so far: Beef Juice or Beef Tea for Invalids and Children (pg 44) which calls for 1 pound of steak to make 1/2 to 3/4 cup "tea" and Ozark Pickles, which calls for thoroughly scubbing with a brush: (count'em) 350 small cucumbers, about 2 inches in length. (pg. 837). Also, in the sandwiches section: Peanut Butter and Tomato Sandwich (pg 16) that includes bacon and other things to gussy it up. (Note that I used to LOVE peanut putter and bacon/tomato sandwiches - just can't eat PB anymore.)

                      Have fun!

                    2. I was so upset when I realized they were all different. A friend gave me a brand new, hard cover copy in the late 90s for Christmas, so I gave away my old worn out paperback edition I received as a wedding gift in the 70s. Oh well, it looks nice on the bookcase anyway. Maybe I'll find one in the thrift shop someday (just got the original Moosewood Cookbook for 25 cents last week!)

                      1. Here's an excellent rundown of the various editions and revisions, when they were published, and what constituted the essential changes.


                        If you go to the link posted above by the editor of the 1997 edition, you'll see a more whitewashed version of the history of the book.

                        The copy you picked up, MMRuth, must be one of the many reprintings of the Third Edition.

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: JoanN

                          Thanks - looks like the Third Revision was in 1951, and that the '53 one has a new index.

                          1. re: JoanN

                            Yes, thanks for that link! I have the 1953, 1975 and 1997 editions. While I haven't really explored the '53 one (relatively new tag-sale aquisition) my favorite is the '75. That link says, in the overview of the book: "Joy acheived Marion's aims more fully than any of the previous editions." Perhaps that's why I return to it again and again...

                            The 1997 edition is appreciated in my kitchen for it's take on all kinds of ethnically diverse recipes, although I really, really would miss the "All about squirrel" types of info that the '75 version has. (So much fun for a girl growing up in suburban Boston.) Plus, the 1997 version dropped the chapter on canning and preserving. So sad...

                            1. re: JoanN

                              Many thanks for that link Joan!! Looks like I have an edition not on the list, though. It's a 1973 reprint of the 1964 edition by The Penguin Group/ Plume....spiral bound. I bought it as a general reference and to augment my Fanny Farmer book. I recently bought the 2006 edition because that old one was falling apart and the pages are now a lovely shade of brown. I love Julia's quote in this new edition, "Thanks for putting the joy back in ~ Joy."

                              1. re: Gio

                                That seems odd to me, Gio. New American Library, the publisher of the first paperback edition of Joy in 1964, wasn’t acquired by the Penguin Publishing Company (parent company of Plume) until 1987. I would expect a book reprinted after 1987 to carry the Penguin/Plume imprint, but not before.

                                1. re: JoanN

                                  Hmmmm..... I have the book right here at the desk. It says

                                  "First Plume Printing November, 1973.
                                  40 41 42 43"

                                  There's no indication of the 1987 date, tho.

                                  1. re: Gio

                                    Okay. I think I've got it. Not that anyone really cares, but this kind of thing fascinates me. Plume was the trade paperback imprint of New American Library. They first printed Joy in the spiral-bound version you have in 1973. Those numbers, 40 41 42 43, indicate which reprinting your particular copy is from, evidently the 40th. That's an awful lot of reprints, so it's more than likely that your copy of the book, even though it doesn't say so, was reprinted after Penguin had bought New American Library and it's imprint, Plume, in 1987.

                                    So you have the 40th printing of the 1964 edition, first published in that format in 1973.

                                    I think. ;-)

                                    1. re: JoanN

                                      Thank you!! Odd, though, that the 1987 date is not on the page.

                                      Happy New Year!

                              2. re: JoanN

                                Thanks for this link JoanN. I was looking at one of my versions, and realized that it did not fit on the list. It has 849pgs, Ills Hofman and Warner, but it is a Limited Ed. Pub by McClelland and Stewart ,Toronto. I have other editions, but not in hand,

                                I still remember my sadness at not finding the soft molasses drop cookies in the 97 version :<.

                              3. I use two editions.
                                The 1946 edition is in my study and that's the one that I refer to when I have questions about American food history that have been lost in the mists of time, convenience foods, laziness and microwave ovens. I can often find out how to make things "from scratch."
                                The 1975 edition is the one in my kitchen that I cook from.
                                I've sought out copies of that one at used book stores for both of my daughters. It's the basic guide to American food. Add Bittman's How to Cook Everything for some updated things, and the internet for trendy stuff, and they are good to go.

                                I wouldn't give you a nickel for the 1997 or later JOCs. Total waste.
                                What were they thinking?

                                1. I learned to read from my aunt's J of C in about 1940. I learned to cook from my mother's in about 1950. I then wore out to total slop my own first version, which I received for Christmas in 1954, and since then I have worked from three or four older versions as well as the newest. The older ones have excellent recipes that have been omitted from the newer ones, for example the basic yeast coffee cake and Roman Apple Cake, both of which I have made literally hundreds of times. The J of C does not seem to appeal to younger cooks whose culinary expectations were developed in contemporary restaurants that serve odd food combinations beautifully plated. However, it is a superb book from which one may actually learn to cook.

                                  1. My mother gave me her 1975 edition JOC after I got married and I was starting to experiment with more "from scratch" cooking. I use it mainly for the baking and confectioneries. The recipes are just classic, in my opinion. It's old fashioned comfort to me. If I want more diverse or upscale food, I have other books. But this is the one I use the most.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: northside food

                                      This is making me start to think that this might be interesting as a cookbook of the month. As with the Fannie Farmer book, I'm amazed at the depth of the recipes I've seen so far, and would be intellectually curious to see how they pan out.

                                    2. I have the 1975 edition. It was the first and only cookbook my mother gave me when I moved out of the house. I'm a pretty adventurous cook, so I mainly turn to it as a reference and for candymaking. I've never needed to make an aspic, but I have had to check out the marinade and cooking suggestions for venison. It's a great teaching tool.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Vetter

                                        It's also nice to know that if you ever need to skin a squirrel, you've got helpful step by step instructions. =)

                                      2. I have the '75 version - one of the first cookbooks I ever purchased. I was broke and in college, so I purchased this in the two part paperback version. Made lay-away payments on first the one with jams & jellies, then the other (had access to gobs of blackberries and wanted to make jam).

                                        Some one recently gave me a larger sized edition of the full '75 book, which is easier on my '09 vision!

                                        I've never cooked many specific recipes from it, but do find that it is a good starting point for research when I am trying something new.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: meatn3

                                          I have the 2006 version, given to me by my parents when I got my first kitchen. It is my go-to source whenever I'm trying something new since it seems to have a basic entry-level recipe for almost everything. Then when I'm comfortable with the procedure I'll tinker with the recipe or move on to a fancier recipe somewhere else. It's not my favorite for ethnic recipes since it's written so that almost everything in it can be made with the contents of your average American supermarket, so it often makes substitutions for traditional but hard-to-find ingredients. But on the other hand, I hate it when a recipe from another source calls for a long list of items I can't get my hands on!

                                        2. I have the Plume Paperback, spiral bound version given to me by my Mother in the early '80s. I read it cover to cover a few times in the Peace Corps (yeah, was short on reading material every now and then) so I'm chock full of food trivia!

                                          I still pull it out for old-fashioned how-to's on various recipes.

                                          1. Of my (too) many all-purpose cookbooks, I find the 1997 edition one of the most useful for recipes, but the now-restored reference sections are great too. I've never had a failure from one of its recipes. My other go-to, the Gourmet cookbook (the yellow one) is a close second, but I've ended up with a couple of very expensive clunkers.

                                            Amazon and the used booksellers always have plenty of copies of old editions. You might get a couple.