James Peterson, Author . Ten Speed $40 (534p) ISBN 978-1-58008-789-6

Peterson's masterful survey of kitchen skills is a refreshing dose of tradition for anyone weary of quick-and-simple recipe books. The substantial volume is replete with step-by-step color photos, often 10 to 15 per recipe or process, that show the stages of a steak's doneness or how to make napoleons. The immense store of “recipes to learn by” is arranged partly by course and partly by main ingredient, with each section proceeding through many of his 10 basic techniques. Peterson is careful to include a range of dishes for every skill level, and cooks with any amount of experience will appreciate the numerous boxes that highlight preparation tips and tricks. Dominated by recipes like Fish Meunière and Boeuf à la Bourguignonne and with a prodigious chapter on sauces, the book feels like an old-fashioned French culinary education slightly updated with some nominally international dishes (Lamb Korma, Chiles Rellenos with Tomatillo Sauce), an attribute that may turn off some modern-minded cooks, but will reward those keen to absorb Peterson's deep knowledge of food and well-honed explanations for how best to prepare it. Color photos not seen by PW . (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 09/17/2007
Release date: 10/01/2007
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