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Stewart's trademark ability to simplify everything that seems complex or overwhelming in domestic life serves her well in this excellent foundation course in cooking techniques. Like Stewart herself, its pages exude authority along with accessibility, with numerous helpful checklists, charts and boxed tips artfully arranged throughout the numbered lessons that build from essentials such as roasting chicken perfectly or wilting leafy greens just so to more involved, less frequently used methods featured as "extra credit," such as grinding and binding meat into paté or producing a peerless vegetable puree. Each technique is illustrated by numerous stylish yet instructive photos, and accompanied by a few carefully selected recipes and variations that successfully aim to familiarize cooks with a basic procedure without inundating them with the full range of possibilities right away. They will also appreciate Stewart's concise but enlightening introductions to each chapter and the lessons within, For new cooks looking to establish a core set of kitchen skills as well as for those just looking to brush up or to have a ready reference to cooking fundamentals, this impressive volume will be an ideal choice. Color photos not seen by PW. (Oct.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.