A limited edition Joy of Cooking goes luxe

Joy of Cooking was the ‘gateway drug’ for many cookbook collectors, myself included. Before cookbook publishing exploded, it stood alone as a paragon of the genre, teaching multiple generations how to cook for their families. Plenty of people hang on to their grease-splattered and dog-eared copies of Joy, passing them down to their children and grandchildren. New editions continue to be bestsellers, despite the proliferation of fantastic cookbooks over the last couple of decades. 

If you are a serious collector – or just have a penchant for leather – you might want to check out the limited edition Joy of Cooking that is being offered for sale. Bound in Vachetta leather, it features embossed lettering and a hand-painted spine. According to John Becker, the great-grandson of Irma Rombauer, the idea for this limited edition was simple.  “I wish there was more to it than ‘someone came to us with a good idea,'” he said, noting that several colors are available. You can opt for black, blue, rust, gold metallic, a pink-ish “natural” color, or yellow nubuck.  Such luxury doesn’t come cheap: the books are priced at $156 USD.

leather books

I found it fascinating that the article linked above is written by someone who is fascinated by the black leather-bound copy of Joy even though she does not cook and really has no interest in learning how to do so. Even for her, Joy of Cooking holds immeasurable appeal. She says that the book “speaks to me specifically because I have so many memories of my mom using it. I am convinced it is imbued with magical powers, and holds the secret to kitchens in the way other books do not. If I found a leather-bound  How to Cook Everything, I am sure it would be lovely, but I am not sure I would be as obsessed.” Are you planning to spring for this new version? 

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  • sir_ken_g  on  February 2, 2019


  • bittrette  on  February 4, 2019


    When did this coobook explosion occur? I'm trying to place it in history. If it dates from the last "couple" of decades, the explosion should have occurred in about 1999. Is that the time you're thinking of?

    So before the late 90's, Joy of Cooking "stood alone as a paragon of the genre"? What does that mean? If it was "a" paragon rather than "the" paragon, then there were other paragons, and if there were other paragons, it didn't stand alone.

    As beloved as Joy of Cooking is, It was hardly the sole authoritative general cookbook before the late 90's. What about the Fannie Farmer Cookbook? I got that in the 80's when I opened a bank account. The Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook? The Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook? My mother bought the first edition of that with Betty Crocker coupons. I'm sure I've left out a few.

    No, I won't be springing for that leather-bound Joy of Cooking. I already have the latest edition, and wouldn't the leather be damaged if you actually USED the book in a hot kitchen?

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