In 1931, while most housewives were raising children and trying to maintain order and a strict budget in the Great Depression era United States, Irma von Starkloff Rombauer (1877-1962) was facing a dilemma. Following her husband's 1930 suicide, the St. Louis widow was forced to find a way to provide for her son, daughter, and herself. A self-proclaimed amateur cook, Rombauer, with help from her friends, gathered a variety of her favorite recipes over the course of a year and published the first edition of The Joy of Cooking: A Compilation of Reliable Recipes with a Casual Culinary Chat on November 30, 1931.
[...] From this very first edition, it is evident that Rombauer knew that she must provide information for her readers that was both timely and relevant. A 1930s housewife needed access to recipes that would fit her budget. On May the first trade edition of The Joy of Cooking was published by Bobbs-Merrill Company, and June brought the second revision to The Joy of Cooking. The cookbook continued to evolve with the needs of the consumer, and this latter edition included information on World War II rationing. [...]
[...] This proved to be a wise decision, and the 1975 edition of The Joy of Cooking became the most popular. By this time, the cookbook was divided into three different sections: The Foods We Eat, The Foods We Heat, and The Foods We Keep. The nutrition and entertaining information was brought to the front of the cookbook, where it remains now in its most recent edition. The entertainment section grew to include headers such as: table décor, formal entertainment, informal entertainment, tea service, buffet service, cooking for large parties, and casual entertaining for one or many. [...]
[...] Fans of The Joy of Cooking were disappointed in this new edition, as was the family. Guarnaschelli defended her changes, but gone was the down-home, comfortable feel of the original text and it was replaced instead with professional language. The 2006 edition of The Joy of Cooking marks the cookbook's seventy-fifth anniversary. Beth Wareham, editor of this edition, worked to bring back the charm of previous editions. Where Guarnaschelli may have overstepped her bounds as editor, Wareham understood that Becker] is the heir. [...]
[...] The 1943 edition was reprinted in 1946 with the World War II rationing information removed, and by 1951 The Joy of Cooking was in its third edition. Considerable changes had been made to the format of the cookbook. The conversational and friendly tone remained, but the table of contents format was changed to include fewer chapters, which made the table of contents much clearer. Illustrations are included throughout the text, not just at the chapter openers, and there were many more preparation tips included in the cookbook. [...]
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