I am not a good cook. I should be, given that I’ve had to do it for 15 years. But I love cookbooks. I love perusing them and looking at pictures and reading the ingredients and wondering if I could make my effort turn out like the photo. I bought The Joy Of Cooking, which is a famous cookbook. It’s been around for several decades and gone through many revisions and apparently loads of chefs reference it in their own cooking. So I thought it would be a good buy. It wasn’t.
Okay, I’ve only tried about a dozen recipes. But every single one of them from barbequed ribs to mac and cheese to cinnamon muffins were BLAND or OFF. I don’t get it, and I can’t really defend Joy. It’s not like the authors haven’t had tonnes of time to perfect each recipe. It’s also not like Joy is a healthy living cookbook, which one would have to buy with the expectation that flavour may be lacking. Joy has no excuses.
Granted, I didn’t follow every single one of the steps in my latest effort, chicken curry. Sometimes I just put all the ingredients in without reading how to go about it. But, honestly, how could those details make such an enormous difference? And why, if I followed every instruction to the letter, did my sour cream muffins end up tasting oddly similar to my kid’s stuffed organic cotton hippo? Except, worse, because the hippo has way more flavour?
Anna and Kristina gave it their stamp of approval so I’m going to stick with it, despite its lack of any photos whatsoever. And I guess the encyclopedia at the back is handy for when I need to know which kind of cabbage works best in various dishes. For all those meals I make with cabbage.
It would be most interesting if someone out there has this book and thinks it’s fabulous. I want to like it, so educate me.