Rediscover: The Joy of CookingIn 1931, after losing her husband to suicide the previous year, Irma S. Rombauer self-published 3,000 copies of The Joy of Cooking: A Compilation of Reliable Recipes with a Casual Culinary Chat (the printer, A.C. Clayton, had only ever printed shoe and mouthwash labels before). All of those copies had sold by 1936, when Rombauer found a real publisher, the Bobbs-Merrill Company, to release a new version. Unfortunately for Rombauer, she acted as her own agent during negotiations and signed away the copyright for this new edition and her 1931 work, which caused problems in decades to come. By the fifth edition in 1964, Rombauer's daughter, Marion Rombauer Becker, was in charge of editing the book, which had expanded from 500 recipes in the original to more than 4,000. The last version Becker edited was the sixth in 1975, which sold six million copies and can still be found in many kitchens. Rombauer's grandson, Ethan Becker, has overseen editing since then.
Today, Scribner is publishing a ninth edition of The Joy of Cooking, featuring 600 new recipes and 4,000 updated ones. Rombauer's great-grandson, John Becker, and wife Megan Scott have expanded the cookbook's vegetarian and gluten substitute options while exploring new cooking techniques such as sous vide, fermentation and pressure cookers. At 1,200 pages, this edition ($40, 9781501169717) is the most comprehensive yet. --Tobias Mutter