It's the birthday today of Irma Rombauer, author of The Joy of Cooking. This was the first big cookbook I owned, and it's the one everyone in my family refers to when they need basic directions. How do you boil an egg? Scald milk? Make a custard pie? There are more innovative cookbooks, and there are more comprehensive ones, but this is the one I turn to again and again.
I have a sort of hypothesis that there are Fanny* (as in Fanny Farmer) people and Irma people. I have a tattered old paperback Fanny, but I use the Joy (as I've always called it) much more often--I suspect because my mother did. I've sometimes checked both for some basic thing, and they are almost always just slightly different, which can be disconcerting. Shouldn't there be just one way to do these basic things? Well, no. But if they do disagree, I'll almost always go with Irma. She's a good friend to have in the kitchen.
*Confusingly, at least to me, the Fanny Farmer cookbook is now written by Marion Cunningham, and the Joy has for many years listed Marion Rombauer Becker as a co-author. So really they are both Marion, but to me they are Fanny and the Joy.