By Gail Monaghan, Rizzoli, $45.00, 192 pages

10“The majority of recipes in The Entrées are adapted from old cookbooks and from archival newspaper and magazine articles, but also included are several “heirloom” recipes passed on to me by friends and relatives.”

Large-format, beautifully illustrated cookbooks with eye-catching covers are almost standard these days and most are relegated to the coffee table. Blessedly, this equally handsome cookbook is likely to be on your kitchen shelf among your favored collection. The publisher spared no expense to produce the best.

Gail Monaghan’s idea with The Entrees: Remembered Favorites from the Past: Recipes from Legendary Chefs and Restaurants is to reproduce and update old classic recipes (such as Chicken Kiev) from famous chefs of the past. She was meticulous in her recipe writing to make each one accessible to experienced home cooks. But don’t be fooled. Even though the recipes are well written and easy to follow, most home cooks are likely to spend much of an afternoon to prepare one. They are mainly for advanced and dedicated cooks. Ingredients are available at your neighborhood markets but you’ll spend some time checking off a long list. Few recipes have less than a score of ingredients. Cassoulet, for instance has 25, chicken tetrazzini 21. The layout has the convenience of cooks in mind having most recipes on single or facing pages. Head notes and stories illustrate every recipe and full-page professional photos many. The subject index is excellent and well cross-referenced.

Reviewed by George Erdosh