This week, as I catch up with the Gourmet Live 50 Women Game-Changers, the focus is on number nine: Irma S. Rombauer. In the midst of the Great Depression, she self-published the first edition of Joy of Cooking as a guide for women who, because of hard times, had to start cooking for themselves. The instructions were basic and easy to follow, which is probably why it became THE wedding gift for almost every newlywed wife. (Image is from the website of current publisher Scribner/Simon & Schuster, Inc.)
A native of
Rombauer financed that first 1931 edition with the insurance settlement she
received after her husband committed suicide. (Talk about making lemonade out
of lemons!) Publisher Bobbs-Merrill picked up the book in 1936 and it has been
around ever since. Rombauer’s daughter, Marion Rombauer Becker, took over and
did the revisions of each edition until 1975. Grandson Ethan Becker oversaw the
publication of the current edition, which celebrated the book’s 75th
anniversary in 2006. St. Louis
I remember using my mother’s copy many times growing up. I also have memories of Mamaw using her copy from time to time. Mine is the latest edition, often my go-to book when I start to develop a new recipe.
If you are looking for a recipe, it is probably in Joy of Cooking.
This is my favorite.
Adapted from Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, and Ethan Becker
2 cup all-purpose flour2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or spay with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a mixer, blend together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined.
Mix together the sugar and cinnamon for the coating. Shape spoonfuls of the dough into 1-inch balls and roll in the coating mixture. Place the balls on the baking sheet 2 3/4 inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned. Place the cookies on a rack to cool.