The 75th Anniversary of The Joy of Cooking

1997 Joy of CookingA couple of years ago in early 2006 I discovered one of the best cookbooks ever published: the Joy of Cooking. If I remember correctly, my roommate Nick checked it out from the BYU library and we both fell in love with it. It wasn’t long before we both bought copies. When we bought them then, the newest version was the 1997 edition.

About the Joy of Cooking

Irma RombauerThe Joy of Cooking was originally published in 1931 by Irma Rombauer. Since then it has been revised and reprinted a half dozen times. It has been in continuous print since 1936 with over 18 million copies sold. It is considered a staple in many kitchens, including many commercial kitchens. A more complete history can be found on the Joy of Cooking website.

The Joy of Cooking is unlike many cookbooks. It is encyclopedic in feel and scope. It is over 1,000 pages and has chapters that cover a very wide variety of topics: sauces, soups, seafood, meat, game, breads, cakes, pies and pastries, vegetables, and candy to name only a few. Each chapter is quite thorough in addressing the entire topic. It talks about the history and customs associated with the categories and subcategories, as well as all of the information you need to become well versed in cooking a particular kind of food. Then it has gobs of tried and true recipes for each variation it talks about. If you need to know just about anything about cooking something, the Joy of Cooking is the place to turn.

There are over 4,000 recipes in the book, and the recipes are organized differently than typical. The ingredients are listed in the middle of the recipes. They are in list format and bold so you can very easily see all of the ingredients in a recipe, but it is far more convenient when you are making a recipe to have the quantity and ingredients right where you are in the recipe. Apparently this also makes the recipes more compact so that many more can be included in the same number of pages.

The Newest Edition

2006 Joy of CookingI recently discovered by accident that a new 2006 edition of the Joy of Cooking came out shortly after I purchased my copy of the 1997 edition. I also found out that the 1997 edition was one of the least popular editions because it departed from the historic voice and feel of the historic Joy of Cooking. The 1997 edition was much more formal in presentation and tone. The 2006 edition returns to the informal feel of the older editions, adds back in several sections that were removed from the 1997 edition, adds several more sections that have never been previously included, and has over 500 additional recipes (making a total of 4500 recipes).

Needless to say, I ordered a copy. It arrived today.

The new edition is well constructed. It has 1132 pages and uses a slightly more compact font than the 1997 edition. The layout is much the same, but does have a few tweaks that make it a little easier to find things. I’ve looked up many of the recipes I’ve used and sections I’ve read and find it to be as good or better than my old 1997 edition. There are a number of differences in recipes, though, so I expect to use them both regularly.

To give you a feel for the scope that it covers, here’s the complete Table of Contents:

    1. A History of the Joy of Cooking
    2. Nutrition
    3. Entertaining
    4. Menus
    5. Beverages
    6. Wine and Beer
    7. Cocktails and Party Drinks
    8. Appetizers and Hors d’Oeuvres
    9. Brunch, Lunch, and Supper Dishes
    10. Stocks and Soups
    11. Salads
    12. Sandwiches, Wraps, and Pizza
    13. Egg Dishes
    14. Fruits
    15. Vegetables
    16. Pasta, Noodles, and Dumplings
    17. Grains
    18. Shellfish
    19. Fish
    20. Poultry and Wildfowl
    21. Meat
    22. Game
    23. Stuffings
    24. Savory Sauces, Salad Dressings, Marinades, and Rubs
    25. Breads and Coffee Cakes
    26. Pancakes, Waffles, Fritters, and Doughnuts
    27. Pies and Pastries
    28. Cakes and Cupcakes
    29. Cookies and Bars
    30. Icings, Toppings, and Glazes
    31. Desserts
    32. Frozen Desserts and Sweet Sauces
    33. Candies and Confections
    34. Keeping and Storing Food
    35. Canning, Salting, Smoking, and Drying
    36. Freezing
    37. Jellies and Preserves
    38. Pickles and Relishes
    39. Know Your Ingredients
    40. Cooking Methods and Techniques
    41. Index

The index alone is 60 pages long; taking that into account gives an average of 26.8 pages and 112.5 recipes per chapter. That’s about 4.2 recipes per page overall, though there are usually a couple of pages of introduction at the beginning of each chapter talking about the topic.

How to Get It

I don’t own many cookbooks: this newest one brings the total to 4 (and 2 of them are the Joy of Cooking). I love and use them all, but the Joy of Cooking is certainly the most referenced. I got it from Amazon. They currently have it for $23.10 with free shipping (if you spend over $25). It’s definitely worth the price; it’d be worth the price even if it cost a lot more. If you don’t want to wait for shipping (which I can totally understand—the last week has been excruciating) and you are willing to pay a bit more, I am sure that Barnes and Noble and Borders both have it in stock. The list price for the book is $35.00, but they may have it for less. I absolutely recommend purchasing it.

Easter Eggs from Outer Space

This year my family decorated Easter Eggs a little differently. We decided to go with an outer space theme. So we divvied up the planets and other astrological bodies and used a combination of egg dye and paint to create the universe. All the pictures are below. Take special note of how nicely this blog post is laid out—it took me hours to do this. Sometimes Blogger is not very easy to work with. You can click on any picture to see it larger (and it’s often worth it).

The complete solar system is shown here:

Here are the individual planets in the solar system and the person who created each:

The Sun
William Krohn
Mercury
Robyn Krohn
Venus
Robyn Krohn
The Earth
William Krohn
Earth Easter Egg
Mars
Bill Krohn
Mars Easter Egg
The Asteroid Belt
Sheri Krohn
Asteroid Belt Easter Egg
Jupiter
Bill Krohn
Jumpiter Easter Egg
Saturn
Robyn Krohn
Saturn Easter Egg
Uranus
Sheri Krohn
Uranus Easter Egg
Neptune
Bill Krohn
Neptune Easter Egg
Pluto
Bill Krohn
Pluto Easter Egg
Planet X
Robyn Krohn
Planet X Easter Egg

Here’s the earth and the moon together:

Earth System Easter Egg
I think the Earth turned out really well. It took a long time to do:

North America
Earth Western Hemisphere Easter Egg
Western Europe
Earth Atlantic Ocean Easter Egg
Asia
Earth Eastern Hemisphere Easter Egg
Pacific Ocean
Earth Pacific Ocean Easter Egg
North Pole
Earth North Pole Easter Egg
Antarctica
Earth Antarctica Easter Egg

My mom did the moon:

Full Moon
Full Moon Easter Egg
Quarter Moon
Quarter Moon Easter Egg
New Moon
New Moon Easter Egg

And here are the rest of the astrological bodies:

Nebula
Robyn Krohn
Nebula Easter Egg
Spiral Galaxy
William Krohn
Spiral Galaxy Easter Egg
Big Dipper
Robyn Krohn
Big Dipper Easter Egg
Black Hole
Robyn Krohn
Black Hole Easter Egg
Black Hole
Robyn Krohn
Black Hole with Vortex Easter Egg
Worm Hole
Sheri Krohn
Worm Hole Easter Egg
Blue Sun
Robyn Krohn
Blue Sun Easter Egg
Haley’s Comet
Sheri Krohn
Comet Easter Egg
The Northern Lights
Bill Krohn
Northern Lights Easter Egg

In light of this year’s festivities, I now think just dying Easter Eggs is kind of boring. I still have this year’s eggs, but they probably won’t last much longer. Next year I think we’ll blow out the eggs rather than hard boil them so that we can seal them and keep them longer.

Mathematics Sterling Scholar

My sister Samantha was awarded Sterling Scholar for Mathematics for Granger High School this year. This is one of the very highest awards that can be given by a high school in Utah. Sterling Scholar in mathematics is especially impressive.

For those who are unfamiliar with the Sterling Scholar award, each year one student from each high school in Utah is awarded the Sterling Scholar award for each subject. These students then go on to compete for the state Sterling Scholar award, which is given to one student in each category for the entire state.

Samantha’s picture was published in a special insert in the Deseret News in recognition of the award. Here’s the insert for the mathematics section. She’s in the center of the second row.

This is not the only impressive award in mathematics that she has received this year and she has also received awards in areas other than mathematics. I’m proud to have her as a sister.

Happy Birthday Nelson!

Today is my roommate Nelson’s birthday. I baked this German Chocolate Cake for the occasion.

I’ve made German Chocolate Cake from scratch a couple of times before. It’s worth making it from scratch even though it calls for pretty specialized ingredients (like cake flour and sweetened baking chocolate) and it is a rather complicated cake to make. This time I varied the recipe for the cake slightly and experimented some with the frosting. Overall I was quite pleased with the results.

The frosting calls only for egg yolks, so at the recommendation of The Joy of Cooking (my favorite cookbook) I added the extra egg whites left over from the frosting to the whipped egg whites folded into the cake to make a total of seven egg whites. This did make a noticeable difference in the texture of the cake: it was lighter and fluffier.

I ended up making two batches of the frosting so there would be enough to frost between the layers and on the top and sides. I made the first batch normally; for the second one I toasted the pecans and the coconut before adding them into the frosting. Initially the difference was pretty stark, but after putting it on the cake and letting it cool the difference was only very subtle. I definitely prefer the toasted frosting. I don’t think most people tonight could tell the difference between the two.

I also used half-and-half instead of the usual evaporated milk for the frosting. I think the flavor did turn out better. I am pretty sure it would be even better when made from heavy cream. I intend to do that next time.

Finally, for the chocolate drizzled down the sides I used Ghirardelli semisweet baking chocolate combined with a small amount of shortening. I typically simply use melted chocolate chips for things like that. Ghirardelli was markedly better and is definitely worth the extra cost.

Happy Birthday Nelson!

Legalization of Illicit Drugs

I know that I have mentioned to several people in various conversations the economic perspective that illegal drugs should be legalized. Unfortunately, I have not been versed enough in the details of the subject to give a very motivating argument. Dr Jeffrey Miron, an economist at Harvard University, published an article about the topic last week. It talks about the problems that illegal drugs cause and specifically the problems they have recently caused in Mexico. Here is the article:

Commentary: Legalize drugs to stop violence
by Dr Jeffrey A. Miron

Personally, I have not thought about the issue enough to have a strong opinion either way. However, I do think the arguments for legalization are substantative enough to at least be seriously considered. This is particularly true in light of articles like this one published yesterday in the New York Times about the current problems in Mexico.

I found out about the article from Greg Mankiw’s blog, which I enjoy reading. Greg Mankiw is also a professor at Harvard.

A Website Well Worth Checking Out

When I was looking up information about Dr Benjamin’s mathemagics performance (see my blog post), I stumbled across a site on the internet that I think is worth checking out. It is TED.com. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It started in 1984 as a conference to “[bring] together people from those three worlds.” During the last 20 years it has grown in size and scope and is now a worldwide conference held annually with very prominent speakers speaking on all kinds of topics. Here’re a few excerpts from their website:

The annual conference now brings together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes).

We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. So we’re building here a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world’s most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other.

All of the talks that are given in the conferences are around 18 minutes long and are freely available to watch and download from their website. I’ve watched over a dozen of them in the last few days. I’m sure I’ll be watching a lot more of them (there are over 200). All of them have been insightful—some of them have been extremely mind-opening. They’ve addressed a range of things: world problems, scientific discoveries and topics, and the human psyche. Many have also been quite entertaining. Although almost all of them that I’ve seen so far could make it on a longer list of my favorites, here are a few of the ones I found most interesting:

My stroke of insight
by Jill Bolte Taylor
Dr Taylor is a neuroanatomist who had a serious stroke. Her description of the event is fascinating and unique because she describes what it was like to experience the deterioration of her brain over the course of four hours from a neuroscience perspective. She gives some pretty profound insights into the separate functions of the right and left hemispheres of the brain. I found it fascinating enough that when I found out she wrote a book about it I drove to Barnes and Noble to buy it. Unfortunately, they didn’t have it in stock after all so I’m probably going to have to order it.

How I’m trying to change the world now
by Bill Gates
Bill Gates talks about problems with malaria across the world and with the education system in the United States. I often hear people bash Bill Gates because “all he cares about is monopolizing the software market and making money.” From what I know of him he is a very respect-worthy person; I think this is a good look into who Bill Gates actually is and what he is doing for the world with his time and money.

Why play is vital — no matter your age
by Stuart Brown
Dr Brown is a psychiatrist that began studying murderers and felons and found that there was a lack of playing in their lives, he has spent years studying the need for playing in both humans and animals. He expounds on some of his findings.

Classical music with shining eyes
by Benjamin Zander
Benjamin Zander has been the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra for over 25 years. It says on the website that he “has two infectious passions: classical music, and helping us all realize our untapped love for it.” Here he very successfully convinces the audience that everyone has a passion for classical music.

Lightning calculation and other “Mathemagic”
by Arthur Benjamin
Dr Benjamin is a professor of mathematics. He does some pretty fascinating things with mental mathematical calculations. See my blog post about him coming to BYU.

Asking big questions about the universe
by Stephen Hawking
Stephen Hawking is one of the world’s foremost theoretical physicists. I’ve read some of his books. Here he talks about the origins of the universe, the probability that we are alone in the universe, and the future of mankind.

MatheMagics Show at BYU

Dr Arthur Benjamin will be coming to BYU to perform this week. He combines magic and mathematics in his performances of “mathemagics.” It’s supposed to be very enjoyable and entertaining for everyone—not just the mathematically inclined. Tickets are free; here’s the flier from the BYU Math Department for the event:

My numerical methods professor, Dr Villamizar, has seen him before and says it’s really good. I’ve looked at Dr Benjamin’s website and it looks like it will be pretty cool. Here’s a clip of some of the things that he does:


I’ll be going and so far I’ve convinced about a dozen others to go to. If you want to go I can pick up tickets for you. Just let me know.

A Marvel of Modern Technology

Yesterday I saw a self cleaning oven clean itself for the first time in my life. It was pretty amazing. Having seen it, I don’t expect I’ll ever own an oven that can’t clean itself.

I grew up in what some would consider the dark ages of technology. I’m sure many of you can’t even imagine the way that I used to live. I didn’t have a self cleaning oven, I didn’t have a machine to wash my dishes, to cool the house we used a swamp cooler and fans, we only had 1 TV without cable, and when we got the internet the connection speed was 28.8KB per second. Technology has come a long way since then.

The apartment I live in now is the first one I’ve lived in that has had either a dishwasher or a self cleaning oven. I’ve lived there for seven months now. I still regularly think about how nice it is to not have to wash the dishes by hand (though I do miss it sometimes, too). Yesterday was the first time I used the self cleaning feature of the oven. It sure beats doing it by hand.

So for those of you who have never cleaned an oven by hand, let me tell you about how awful it is. In the old days you had to buy a really powerful chemical oven cleaner. You would spray the stuff on all the surfaces of the oven and let it sit for several hours or over night while it ate away all of the crud that was on the surface of the oven. If you were in the same room while the oven cleaner was sprayed it would burn your nasal passages and make you feel nauseous and light headed. If you were the one actually spraying the oven cleaner it’d be powerful enough to almost kill you. After you sprayed the stuff on the oven then you had to breath the fumes for hours. Hopefully you don’t have to stay in the same room, prepare food, or have to sleep in the same house during the process.

Then you have to wipe the oven out. By this point the fumes have subsided to only making you slightly ill, but you have to use gloves because if you let the stuff touch you it will eat your flesh off. You have to clean out all of the crud and foamy chemicals from the oven. You either have to use a roll of paper towels or a disposable rag, because anything you use is not going to be coming clean and you want to be able to take it straight out to the trash. You’d better not miss any bits of chemicals, either. You think the stuff is normally bad? Try heating some up in an oven—it’s pretty toxic.

After all that the oven is usually pretty amazingly clean. Still, sometimes it doesn’t take quite all of junk off and you have to repeat the whole process. And when you get done, the smell of oven cleaner usually permeates the air for days. About the time it dissipates, you bake something again and it returns.

Now with the progress of technology they did invent “fume free” oven cleaner. It’s not a very accurate name, but it is at least marginally better than the old fashioned stuff. At least I don’t know anyone that’s died from using the fume free type. In fact I know of very few people who have been hospitalized from it.

So you can imagine how excited I was to simply set the oven to “Clean” and let it do all of the work. It did take over 4 hours and it did get a little smokey in the apartment. And it certainly got a little hot. I wouldn’t want to do it during the summer when you can’t open the window to let in cool air, but even then it would be a heck of a lot better than the fumes I’m accustomed too. And the amount of heat that came out of the oven exhaust vent under one of the burners was perfect for roasting marshmallows (and it didn’t impart any underlying flavors to the marshmallows).

The results were pretty astonishing. I had spilled a pan-full of steak grease and drippings on the door of the oven a month ago. It’s been smoking and burning on ever since then. After the oven got done cleaning itself yesterday, everything that had been cooked onto the surface of the oven had been reduced to a thin film of white ash. It wiped right out.

I really kind of want to go spill something on the bottom of the oven just so I can clean it again. My mother is going to be so envious when she finds out my oven cleans itself.

The Coolest Jump Drive Ever

A few months ago I bought a new jump drive. I still get utility from its design and size (both its physical size and mental capacity) every time I use it.

When I first came to BYU I bought a jump drive. It was a cutting edge 512 MB drive. I used it for a while, but it didn’t last long because most of my computering happened on my computer at my apartment and I didn’t have much need to take my files anywhere else. And it was annoying to carry around—it was like 2½ inches long and ¾ inches wide. I didn’t want to have something that big in my pocket all the time, and I’m certainly not going to wear it around my neck.

It didn’t take long for me to move away from using my jump drive and start using SD cards. I used a Pocket PC regularly at the time, so I could use my SD card on my Pocket PC or with a jump drive sized SD card reader. That worked really well for a while, but again the size of the SD card reader discouraged me from carrying it around everywhere (or anywhere, for that matter).

I eventually solved the problem by setting my computer up so I could remotely access it from anywhere. Then I didn’t need to carry a jump drive and could get to any of my files at any time, so long as I had the internet. That was really cool and worked great; I quit using a jump drive or SD cards and just left everything on my computer.

When I moved to my new apartment, my computer situation changed drastically. The internet was incredibly slow, so I preferred working on campus. Also, I don’t manage my own network anymore, so I can’t setup my computer quite the same way. I can still get to it from anywhere if I need to, but it’s not as easy or as fast of a connection. So the necessity of having a jump drive has returned.

In approaching this problem, I knew that I would need to be pretty selective in which jump drive I got. If I found a great price for a jump drive I wouldn’t carry around then I’d just be wasting my money to buy it, ’cause I wouldn’t use it. It was worth spending some time looking and a little bit extra money to get the one that I wanted and would use. So I started seriously searching for a jump drive I could love, treasure, and prize enough to have as my faithful companion and carry around with me everywhere.

It didn’t take long to find The One Jump Drive: the 8GB Sony MicroVault, pictured at the right (pay special attention to the cloud-like aura—that took over an hour). It only took a few days to confirm that there isn’t any better jump drive on the market. Now I’ve had my jump drive for several months. I think I love it more now than I did when I first got it. If you were going to marry or make out with a jump drive, this would be the one. I named mine Jacobi.

I bought Jacobi back in December for about $40 including shipping. Notice the first caution listed on the above website: “If swallowed, promptly see a doctor.” This may seem odd at first, but it’s there for good reason. The drive itself is smaller than an SD card. It measures 1.25″ × 0.56″ × 0.19″. It is the smallest jump drive I have ever seen. It is small enough that I can carry it in my wallet. And my wallet is pretty compact. Check out how small it is (click to make it bigger):

To make Jacobi even cooler, I’m running 256 bit AES encryption on half of it (AES encryption has been authorized for use in encrypting data up to the Top Secret level by the US Government). If I ever lost Jacobi I’d probably cry. But at least all of the data I have stored on it would be irretrievable without the appropriate decryption password. I’ve set up Jacobi to autorun so when it is plugged into a computer it automatically starts the encryption software and prompts for the password to mount the encrypted volume (named Dedekind).

And the final touch: the icon for Jacobi in My Computer looks just like my jump drive. And it’s scalable. The picture actually changes to a different picture with appropriate resolutions depending on the size at which the icon is currently being displayed. Look at the picture to see what I mean (click on it to enlarge).

So my jump drive is about the coolest jump drive I’ve ever seen. If you haven’t met Jacobi in person, ask me about it next time you see me.

My New Tablecloth: An Update

I’ve been ranting about my tablecloth to lots of people and have repeatedly run into the fact that I forgot to mention in my blog the brand of my new awesome tablecloth. It is an Origins Microfiber Tablecloth. Mine is Navy, 52 x 70 inches for $14.99 at Bed Bath and Beyond. I’m going to buy the black one next.

My new cloth napkins are also truly amazing in texture and quality. They are Chateau Stripe Napkins. I got 8 at $2.99 each, also from Bed Bath and Beyond. Well worth the price.

Oh, and by the way, I have washed the tablecloth several times now. All the food I spilled on it (most of which was intentional) came right out, and it has not lost its ability to repel water in the slightest.

You should all check them out and buy your own.