Irma von Starkloff Rombauer
1877 - 1962
Her claim to fame - the reference cookbook for so many American households and college apartments that the numbers are truly staggering. One statistic I found claims that more than 18 million copies have made their way onto the shelves of cooks world-wide. Amazing, considering that the cookbook was originally self-published by Rombauer and her daughter, Marion. It might have disappeared into the annals of lost publications had it not sold amazingly well in its self-published phase. It caught the attention of an established publishing house and the rest is history.
Over the years, there was some acrimony and bickering between the Rombauer family and the publishers, who changed the book up, losing the 'voice' of Irma's original text. No loss of sales, though. Recently an edition has come out that restores much of the original recipes, text and Irma's 'voice', as interest in vintage recipes have become more attractive to foodies. And if you're REALLY a cookbook collector, you can have a first edition copy of Rombauer's self-published tome in 'like new' condition for a mere $5,800 at Alibris.com. I'm happy with my 1975 edition, though. It's a keeper.
This is my copy of The Joy of Cooking. It once had a dust cover - no longer, though. It's dog-eared and the spine is damaged from one too many trips off the counter, as I was making more room for a bowl or a pan or a cookie sheet. There are favorite recipes tagged, spots on the pages of the banana bread recipe where Silent Bob has spattered batter over the years. It is where I first learned to cook a Thanksgiving turkey, make fudge, perfect Bearnaise and Hollandaise sauces, and make Swedish meatballs.
Swedish meatballs .... made from her German Meatballs base recipe - a perfect tribute for a German-American housewife and community volunteer who spent her married years providing good food for her family, her church friends, and various community causes - a woman who used her later years to put her experience to words and in doing so created a classic American cookbook- a woman who is # 9 on the Gourmet Live list of 50 Women Game-Changers. To view other tributes to Irma Rombauer, please link to One Perfect Bite. Mary has organized this educational and fun blogshare that is centered around writing and cooking to the women on Gourmet Live's list. Join us! The more the merrier!
adapted from a Joy of Cooking recipe
1 slice bread, 1 inch thick
Milk to soak the bread1 ½ lb meat – ½ lb. ground beef, ½ lb. ground pork, ½ lb. ground veal
3 tbsp. butter¼ c. finely chopped onion
3 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1 ¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. paprika
½ tsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. lemon juice
¼ tsp. nutmeg
⅛ tsp. allspice2 c. boiling vegetable or beef stock
¼ c. flour
1 c. cultured sour cream
2 tsp. chopped dill
2 tbsp. dry Sherry
more chopped parsley for garnish
Making the Dish:
1. Place the bread and milk in a bowl and soak for several minutes.
2. Smash the meat combo together until it is thoroughly combined.
3. Beat the eggs and add them to the meat.
4. Wring the liquid from the bread and add it to the meat and eggs.
5. Melt 1 tbsp. butter in a deep fry pan and sauté the onion until it glistens and has softened. Turn the onion into the meat and bread mix.
6. Add the chopped parsley, salt, paprika, lemon zest and juice, nutmeg, and allspice.
7. Combine until the bread is completely incorporated and the spices are distributed.
8. Shape into meatballs – 2-inch for entrée/ 1-inch for starters or cocktail treats.
9. Melt 2 tbsp. butter in a deep pan. Drop the meatballs into the bubbling butter and brown them on all sides. Add the 2 c. of stock, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
10. Mix sour cream, flour, dill, and Sherry in a small bowl. When the meatballs have simmered for the 15 minutes, spoon them onto a warm platter. Keep in a warm oven.
11. Whisk the sour cream/flour mix into the simmering stock and continue stirring to thicken.
12. Strain the gravy over the meatballs, garnish with fresh chopped parsley, and serve with boiled egg noodles or Spätzle and a green vegetable or salad.