The Fireside Cook Book, originally published in 1949, wasn't Beard's first cookbook, but it was his first big book. It includes more than 12,000 recipes and variations, with chapters on every course of a meal, as well as "Outdoor Cookery," "Frozen Foods and Pick-Up Meals," and more. This 60th-anniversary edition includes the original watercolor illustrations and a brief new foreword by cookbook author Mark Bittman. While some of the information and language is dated, of course, it's amazing how ahead of his time Beard often was; the vegetable chapter, for example, lists chayote, the Caribbean squash that has only recently been appearing in produce markets here, and an Italian menu includes the regional specialty rabbit agrodolce, at a time when most Americans thought of spaghetti and meatballs as exotic. The amount of information the book provides is equally impressive, and Beard's straightforward, opinionated prose remains a delight to read. For all cookery collections.