Friday, April 03, 2009

The So-Called Joy of Cooking (10/11/06)

Cooking a joy? For whom? We just don't get the point of fancy cuisine and all those elaborate gadgets. Give us plain, old-fashioned meat and potatoes. We love a good cheeseburger, but does anyone really need one topped with pastrami or made from bison? That's why Irma Rombauer knew what she was doing way back in 1931. She took her file of 3,000 simple recipes to a label printing company, and she baked up the first edition of the "Joy of Cooking." Rombauer may not have been the world's greatest cook, but she knew that simple is better, filling her book with such perennial classics as tuna noodle casserole, BLT sandwiches, and banana bread. Sure, there were occasional oddities: how to skin a squirrel, remove the glands of raccoon, roast milk-fed opossum, to name a few. But after 75 years, when it comes to basic American cooking -- minus killing your own small game -- every kitchen should be a joyful kitchen.

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