""I do not believe in 'miracle' recipes based on canned or dried soups, artificial mayonnaise, or powdered desserts,"" award-winning author Bittman declares in this handy cookbook, which gathers simple recipes from his beloved tome, How to Cook Everything.""Real cakes begin with flour and butter, and real whipped cream does not come from a can."" But Bittman's dedication to fresh food doesn't mean that he wants readers to spend their days sweating in the kitchen. Widely-known as the New York Times's""Minimalist"" food writer, Bittman has made his reputation by providing recipes for easy-to-prepare dishes, and it's mostly these kinds of treats that readers will find in this cookbook; few of the recipes take more than an hour to prepare. Some, like Home Fried Potatoes or Caesar Salad, give good instructions for reliable staples. Others, like Overnight Waffles, suggest improvements on traditional dishes. However, even the most complicated recipes--Chicken Adobo, for example, or Vanilla Cream Pie--are well within the reach of the average home chef. Many of the recipes come with suggestions for variations or substitutions, as well as cooking tips. To make planning Saturday night meals easier, Bittman also includes 20 suggested menus, such as the Weekend Dinner with Good Friends (Potato Soup with Leeks; Lamb Shanks with Tomatoes and Olives; Couscous; and Caramelized Apple Tart).