Saturday, February 10, 2007


Mom bought me the 75th Anniversary Edition of Joy of Cooking for Christmas. I don't know if I can express how awesome this cookbook is. I haven't had a cooking/food post in quite some time (probably because I've not set anything on fire), so many of you may not be aware that I love to cook. More of you don't know that had I not chosen to go to library school, I probably would have ended up in some culinary school somewhere. I literally chose between the two professions and came up with the result that it's quite easy to cook as a hobby, but rather hard to be a librarian as a hobby.

I own a lot of cookbooks, but this, THE BIBLE OF COOKING was always just a bit outside of my price range (I'm cheap. It's hard for me to spend money on books of any sort when I am surrounded by free ones everyday.). Of course, now I'm seeing that it's only like $20 (well worth it). Seems like the last time I looked at getting one of the previous editions it was going to cost over $30.

It's an amazingly readable cookbook. I find myself often just opening the book and reading. For instance, one night the following thought literally went through my mind: "I think I'll read about Soup tonight!" No, really. It's weird, but the book is very personal without being gimmicky or obnoxious. The text will state a bit of the history of the recipe, and it is always interesting and relevant.

I've now had Joy in my hands for almost two months and everything I've made out of it has been fantastic. Highlights: Potato Pancakes (just thinking about them makes me want to head to the kitchen. yum. yum. yum.), Buttermilk Pancakes (I was going through a phase), Cranberry Peach Upside-Down Cake (in true Jackie fashion slightly modified and very popular at the party), and Baked Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans (my new obsession).

If you have no other cookbook, have this one. It's a classic and it has every recipe you'll want to make. Except Black Bean Burgers (already have one, so it's ok) and more than one for Spaghetti Squash (so I'll need to search elsewhere for a new way to cook the 2nd half in my fridge). Not only does it give you all the recipes, it will tell you EXACTLY how to do everything. It really is for both those who can identify a microplane, and those who can't.

My previous cookbook love affair? The Blue Strawbery [sic] Cookbook. The second title is Cooking (Brilliantly) Without Recipes. There isn't a recipe to be had in the entire book. Nary a one, and yet I learned so much from it. So much. Also probably why I never measure anything. Seems to be out of print but available used.

Jackie's Curried Chickpeas
Garbanzo Beans
Lemon Juice
Olive Oil (I use a mix of reg & lemon olive oil. B/c I can.)
Sugar (just a little)
Curry Paste or Powder
Preheat oven to 350. Whisk the last 6 ingredients together. Throw in the Garbanzo beans. Toss to coat. These would probably rock if you let them marinate for some time. Me, I'm too impatient. Spread 'em out on a baking sheet or oven safe plate or whatever. I don't care if you use the top of a metal garbage can. Just don't expect ME to eat them. If you like salt, sprinkle them with some more. Bake until golden, stirring them every 5-10 minutes. Squeeze on the lemon juice in the last stage. The lemon juice cuts the curry a little and well, I like it. Generally takes about 30 minutes. These are completely addicting and pleasantly spicy. Eat them hot or cold, straight or on salad.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this review! I am defintely a newbie at cooking, and I get frustrated with some cookbooks that assume I know things that I admittedly probably should know about cooking but don't.

oh, and I've also been cooking with chickpeas a lot lately. I'm definitely going to try that curried chickpeas recipe. Thanks!

Jackie Parker said...

Let me know what you think of them Mindy!

tanita✿davis said...

Oooh, the chickpeas, Jac -- big yums there! Surprisingly so easy to make, and so tasty!

Melissa said...

I have the previous Joy edition, which has an awesome buttercream recipe. I highly recommend a stand mixer for it, though. Jac, you should try the big yellow Gourmet cookbook too. The cookbook recipes somehow seem much more manageable than their magazine recipes, and everything I've ever made from it has turned out fantastically.

Anonymous said...

I adore this cookbook! I was given it for Christmas several years ago and it is my goto book when I have a cut of meat/fish/what have you and no clue how to cook it! O joy!