My Mother had a hope chest. My father bought it for her when they became engaged. If you don’t know what a hope chest is they were also called a dowry chest. It was a place to put linens, dishes, anything an unmarried woman would collect before her marriage.  

My mother was still living with her parents and the chest just fit in the corner of the small bedroom she shared with her grandmother. Today, in a different color, I use it as my coffee table in my living room.  

I’m not sure when my mother started saving things for my hope chest but, when I moved out at 18 to go to college and into my first apartment, I had dishes, table linens, sheets and silverware. And a paperback cookbook named  Joy of Cooking .

I had never cooked in my mother’s home. She did it all. I set the table and, occasionally,
loaded the dishwasher. But I was the last daughter at home…the busy, full kitchen days were long gone. 

So, at 18, I literally did not know how to bake a potato.       

I still have my original copy of  Joy . It’s stained and scotch-taped and I cherish it. It taught me the basics of cooking. Meatloaf and a baked potato became my dinner menu.  

I have several editions of  Joy . Older and newer versions alongside my original. When the new updated version landed in my mail box I was thrilled. It’s been meticulously updated. It’s a job well done! It’s not just a cookbook but a legacy with history. 

We interviewed Megan Scott for our Women Beyond A Certain Age podcast. She’s married to Ethan Becker, the great-grandson of Irma, the originator. This episode drops on November 10th. Listen on Apple Podcasts , Podbean or search for us on Spotify.

Visit us on  Facebook  for the Miso Glazed Salmon recipe. Meet Megan and John on the Joy of Cooking  book tour !