Monday, November 12, 2007

The Cooking Bible

I love our 1964 version of Joy of Cooking (in the picture above, our version is the fifth from the top). I don't think a single recipe in it calls for "a can of X." It's almost like the supermarket was thought of as a passing fad. The detailed articles on entertaining, techniques, herbs, and seasonal cooking have a certain literary elegance (I like to think of it as elegance, not pretensiousness). The index is introduced with these words:

"Knowledge," said Dr. Johnson, "is of two kinds. We know a subject as our own, or we know where we can find information on it."

This cookbook introduces you to vital controversies which you have never considered:

In some households, arguments rage every Thanksgiving as to whether a cock or a hen turkey is to grace the board. The butcher might settle most of these disputes, since he invariably charges more for the latter.

Lest you think this an 800-page Stepford Wife handbook, I should let you know that it also has a delightful section on how to cook game such as opossum, bear, woodchuck, and squirrel (with skinning illustrations!).

By the way, the answer to the Google Maps quiz is the biggest religious destination in the world (click here for the solution). The cloud in the center consists of pilgrims running around that big box. What's the box? This.


Special K said...

Um, I'm pretty sure the joy of cooking lies in adding a can of tomatoes and green chilis to spanish rice that comes in a box and is ready in 10 minutes. Flavorful and foolproof!

Chaka said...

That's not joy. It may be relief, or satisfaction, but it's not joy.

Special K said...

“I consider it a great day when I find tuna for 69 cents a can. We have different yardsticks of happiness.” Natalie Ilyin, from Blonde Like Me