Review: A kitchen essential, updated for a new generation of cooks

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John Becker, the great-grandson of original "Joy of Cooking" author Irma Rombauer, and Becker's wife, Megan Scott, are the first of the family to be solely responsible for testing, revising, and updating the book since 1975, ensuring the latest edition is given the same love and attention to detail that made this culinary resource an American classic.

The best-selling cookbook of all time comes full circle with an expansive revision restoring the voice of the original authors and returning the focus to home-style American cooking. It contains more than six hundred new recipes, and they tested and tweaked thousands of classic recipes.

Every section of every chapter reflects the latest ingredients and techniques available to today's home cooks. My 31 foot sailboat's bookshelf included my 1973 version (a wedding present) of "Joy of Cooking" on our seven-year boating adventure so that I would have a general cookbook available. This new edition covers some of the more exotic fruits and vegetables, plus recipes for flatbreads such as naan and pita that have now become part of our everyday global ingredients.

There's over 100 pages of information on "know your ingredients" and "cooking methods and techniques" with both sections being useful for a new cook or someone who has been cooking for years. "Joy of Cooking" is your go-to encyclopedia for recipes, unlike some cookbooks that feature photos of a limited number of recipes.

If your copy of "Joy of Cooking" is getting old and crusty or you know someone setting up a new household, this might be the time to purchase a new version.

Village Square Booksellers, a family-owned independent bookstore, is at 32 The Square in Bellows Falls. Hours are Monday-Thursday and Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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