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For the first time since 2006, the cookbook of all cookbooks has been updated. Husband-and-wife duo John Becker and Megan Scott took on the staggering task of refreshing “The Joy of Cooking,” Irma S. Rombauer’s cooking tome that was first published in 1931. John is the great-grandson of Irma, so it should come as no surprise that he’s got butter, olive oil, and salt coursing through his veins. 

The team added an additional 400 recipes to the book, alongside the already 4,000 beloved ones that the previous installments had boasted. Each recipe has been tested (and re-tested) in John and Megan’s small kitchen over the course of nearly a decade, and all of the sections are now updated to include a modern slew of ingredients, appliances, and culinary skills—things that are now available to the 21st century cook.

Related Reading: Best New Weeknight Cookbooks for Fall 2019

Peel open the cover to peruse through thousands of fundamental recipes. The classics are still there—from a perfect roasted turkey to chocolate brownies—coupled with brand-new additions like gooey butter cake, hot-smoked salmon, chocolate babka, Thai-style wings, and lamb shawarma. The book is also peppered with tips and tricks, including how to save money and the best fermentation practices.

Anika Toro

Joy of Cooking: 2019 Edition, $24.60 on Amazon

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This week, Chowhound was lucky enough to sit down with John and Megan to get a behind-the-scenes look at the editorial and cooking processes for “The Joy of Cooking.” Megan revealed the most challenging recipe to get right (French canelés) and John expressed his gratitude for the most touching gift they received (a 1963 paperback edition of “The Joy of Cooking” torn to shreds, from an older woman who had used the book through three marriages and six children).

For more insight into the evolution of “The Joy of Cooking,” head to Chowhound’s Instagram highlights for the full Q&A. Then check out the recipe below for olive oil cake, a new addition John and Megan swear Irma would approve of.

Aluminum Spring Form Round Cake Pan, $13.14 on Amazon

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Olive Oil Cake Recipe

One of our all-time favorite cakes. It is thick, golden, and rich with olive oil. It reminds us a bit of pound cake, but with an Italian twist.

Olive OIl Cake

Serves: 12-16 servingsMakes: One 9-inch cake
  • 1 ½ cups (190g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup fine cornmeal (80g) or almond flour (45g)
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ½ cups (300g) sugar
  • 1 ¼ cups (265g) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 ¼ cups (300g) plain yogurt
  • 3 large eggs
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange or lemon
  • ½ cup (120g) orange or lemon juice
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together in a medium bowl the flour, fine cornmeal or almond flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
  3. Whisk together in a large bowl the sugar, extra-virgin olive oil, plain yogurt, eggs, finely grated zest of one orange or lemon, and orange or lemon juice.
  4. Fold the flour mixture into the olive oil mixture just until combined, and scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 30 minutes.
  5. Run a thin knife around the inside of the pan, and remove the pan ring. Let the cake cool completely on the pan base. Serve with whipped cream.

Header image courtesy of "The Joy of Cooking."

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