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Most home cooks tend to be protective of their knives and often claim to be highly knowledgeable of the knife world. This book from Sur La Table and food writer Jay is slightly obsessive; it goes into shocking detail about each type of knife from the few countries that produce the best of the best. There is the obligatory section, "A Blade for Every Purpose," that describes each type of knife and its possible uses, which is the best part of the book. Another helpful portion addresses how to buy a knife, which has comprehensive explanations on such weighty points as blade anatomy and blade material. The lay reader will like the simple sections on how to chop, peel, and dice a variety of foods. The recipes that are included are basic for the most part and slightly uninspiring (e.g., mango-cucumber salsa). Recommended for academic libraries with a large collection of culinary arts materials.
—Claire A. Schaper