Becker, Ethan 1945-
BECKER, Ethan 1945-
PERSONAL: Born August 6, 1945; son of John (an architect) and Marion S. (a cookbook and gardening author; maiden name, Von Rombauer) Becker; married, March, 1997; wife's name Susan (in advertising); children: (second marriage) John, David. Education: Attended Oakland University; studied cooking at Cordon Bleu, Paris, France. Hobbies and other interests: Organic gardening, wild flowers, landscaping, woodworking, hunting, primitive skills, martial arts, history.
CAREER: Cookbook author; Chef's Collaborative 2000, member. Operated a student travel agency in the 1960s; Colorado Mountain Industries (designers and manufacturers of mountain climbing equipment), former owner; Becker Knife and Tool Corp. (manufacturers of outdoor and tactical knives), owner.
AWARDS, HONORS: President's Stewardship Award, Nature Conservancy, 1979.
cookbooks; with irma s. rombauer and marion rombauer becker
Joy of Cooking: Christmas Cookies, Scribner (New York, NY), 1996.
The New Joy of Cooking, illustrated by Laura Hartman Maestro, Scribner (New York, NY), 1997, revised edition published as The All New, All Purpose Joy of Cooking, 1997.
Quick Weeknight Meals, Time-Life Books (Alexandria, VA), 1999.
Joy of Cooking: Great Chicken Dishes, Time-Life Books (Alexandria, VA), 1999.
Joy of Cooking Cookie Kit, Miniature Editions (Philadelphia, PA), 2001.
"all about" series; with irma s. rombauer and marion rombauer becker
Joy of Cooking: All about Soups and Stews, Scribner (New York, NY), 2000.
Joy of Cooking: All about Chicken, Scribner (New York, NY), 2000.
Joy of Cooking: All about Pasta and Noodles, Scribner (New York, NY), 2000.
Joy of Cooking: All about Vegetarian Cooking, Scribner (New York, NY), 2000.
Joy of Cooking: All about Breakfasts and Brunches, Scribner (New York, NY), 2001.
Joy of Cooking: All about Salads and Dressings, Scribner (New York, NY), 2001.
Joy of Cooking: All about Grilling, Scribner (New York, NY), 2001.
Joy of Cooking: All about Canning and Preserving, Scribner (New York, NY), 2002.
Joy of Cooking: All about Pies and Tarts, Scribner (New York, NY), 2002.
Joy of Cooking: All about Cookies, Scribner (New York, NY), 2002.
Joy of Cooking: All about Party Foods and Drinks, Scribner (New York, NY), 2002.
Coauthor of one additional title in the "All About" series.
WORK IN PROGRESS: The Anniversary Edition of the Joy of Cooking, 8th edition, publication expected in 2006; Family Favorites from the Joy of Cooking, with wife, Susan Becker, 2007.
SIDELIGHTS: When Ethan Becker finished the 1997 edition of the classic cookbook Joy of Cooking, he was carrying on a family tradition. The famed authoritative tome on the preparation of basic American cuisine was first published in 1931 by Becker's grandmother, Irma S. Rombauer. Rombauer was an amateur cook who collected recipes from friends and relatives to compile the book in an attempt to attain financial security after her husband's suicide. Her daughter, Marion Rombauer Becker, Ethan's mother, took over revision duties to the Joy of Cooking, which underwent several new editions after its initial publication. Becker became his mother's assistant for the editions she wrote. Prior to this, he recalled for Michelle Green of People magazine, he and his brother Mark assisted his mother by taste-testing recipes for the book. They particularly enjoyed helping her out with the chapter on cookies, Becker told Green.
After his mother's death in 1976, Becker endured a twenty-year legal struggle with Macmillan, the longtime publisher of the Joy of Cooking updates, over rights to the title. The problem was resolved only when Macmillan was acquired by Simon & Schuster, which was happy to work with Becker on his own terms. The 1997 edition, The New Joy of Cooking was published under the imprint of another of Simon and Schuster subsidiary, Charles Scribner's Sons.
In the 1997 update, Becker made many changes from his mother's last version, which appeared in 1975. The New Joy of Cooking met with favorable response from critics. A Publishers Weekly reviewer cited the reorganization of the book as a plus, noting that "Stocks and Sauces are collected in one section rather than scattered" and "Salad Dressings now follow Salads rather than cropping up a few hundred pages later." The reviewer concluded that Joy of Cooking "still contains a vast wealth of invaluable, and now updated, information."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
People, November 17, 1997, interview by Michelle Green, pp. 217-218.
Publishers Weekly, September 15, 1997, review of TheNew Joy of Cooking, p. 71.