Rizzoli, $49.95, 511 pages
For the French food lover, this book could be the pièce de résistance. As an apparently French food adverse reader, this book left me wanting for the first 244 pages to be available in its own volume. However, as a dessert lover, I just might be convinced to purchase the whole volume. The basic techniques and practical guide make this a great encyclopedia for cooking. If you didn’t grow up in an environment where you really learned much about cooking, but really want to know how to make your food from scratch, following recipes can be daunting. What is great about this book is that when the basics are shared, they also indicate which recipes might be your venue to test your technique. A 90-minute DVD is included that shows professional chefs practicing 24 of the basic techniques. The practical guide is just that, practical. Seasons of fruit, cuts of meat, conversion tables, and more are discussed. Clay McLachlan has provided wonderful photography to entice you to continue browsing through the volume all the way to the desserts.
Reviewed by Janet Wright