"The Joy of Cooking" began as a self-published cookbook by Irma von Starkloff Rombauer in the 1930s. Since then, it has since seen many revisions by multiple contributors.
Irma von Starkloff Rombauer began compiling her favorite recipes into a cookbook during the Great Depression and spent several years selling "The Joy of Cooking" from her apartment in St. Louis. In 1936, the Bobbs-Merrill Company of Indianapolis published an expanded edition of the book, which went on to be moderately successful.
In 1939, Rombauer published "Streamlined Cooking," a short book of quick and easy recipes that she would later combine with the 1936 version of "The Joy of Cooking" for the publication of its 1943 edition. After some small revisions to remove war-rationing recipes, she published it again in 1946.
As Rombauer grew older, her daughter Marion Rombauer Becker began contributing to the cookbook, and when Irma suffered a series of strokes in 1955, Marion and her husband John were left to undertake the next edition, which they published in 1963, a year after Irma's death.
Marion died in 1976, leaving "The Joy of Cooking" in the hands of her son, Ethan Becker, who oversaw the 75th anniversary edition, published in 2006.