Pros: Excellent basic recipes; Informative
Cons: Some recipes need "sprucing up"; Small Print
Did you know that you shouldn't try to make home-made mayonnaise when a thunder storm is brewing? It simply will not bind!
Or that the the refrigerator life of a hard boiled egg is much SHORTER than that of a raw egg?
Or that you shouldn't eat the skin of a potato if the skin has a greenish tint?
Of course, the Joy of Cooking is a must-have for any kitchen, but the reason I enjoy it so much is because it is very informative about the various foods I use in my cooking.
Another example: Did you know that you are supposed to throw out the legumes (beans and such) that float in the water when you first soak them?
I've been cooking for years and hadn't known many of these little tidbits until I found them In Joy of Cooking.
There are also great suggestions about what foods go with what--I sometimes use Joy to plan my menus.
The book tells you about different classes of wines, and which go best with different dishes, making it essential for young couples who don't happen to come from California, Oregon or Washington.
It also has recipes for various alcoholic beverages, many of which I had never heard of before reading through Joy.
Its basic recipes are for the complete complement of foods: meat dishes, vegetable side dishes, desserts, pastries, and much more. It's the first book I reach for whenever I try a new recipe. Many of my "original" recipes are derivations of Joy of Cooking Recipes.
If I had to think of some "cons," they would include the fact that some of the basic recipes need to be "spruced up" a bit to make them more flavourful.
For example, the basic meatloaf recipe is good for those who haven't made meatloaf before, but as you gain experience, you can make the recipe much more interesting. I add a bit of Worcestershire sauce to my meatloaf, as well as a pinch of red pepper and a few chopped onions. The result is spectacular!
Some of the print is also very small, and you might want to take that into consideration if you're buying the book as a present for Grandma. I would bet that there's a large print Edition of this classic available.
Still, this is THE first cookbook to have in your kitchen. Its basic reciples are good, and you can learn something new every day by simply opening Joy to a random page and reading for a couple of minutes.
What more could you ask for?