I'm just now learning how to cook so I'm VERY happy to have found this cookbook. It's a reference manual and cookbook all rolled in to one. Each recipie includes a detailed description of the various methods the test kitchens tried. More experienced cooks may think the details are over-kill, however, as a newbie cook, I NEED the details. For example, in the ins and outs of what makes the perfect pan-seared salmon, I found I needed to use a TINY bit of canola oil because: #1. salmon is already a fatty fish and doesn't need much extra oil, #2. the necessary high tempature causes butter to billow smoke, and #3. olive oil overwhelms the fish's flavor Since I didn't even have canola oil in my kitchen I would have just doused the pan in olive oil and then been thoroughly confused later at how greasy and disgusting the fish was. After reading WHY I needed canola oil, I went out bought some, and truly DID make the PERFECT pan-seared salmon ON MY FIRST TRY EVER AT COOKING FISH! WHOOPPPEEE!!! The sheer size of the book may turn some people off (it's over 1000 pages), but like I said, I NEED and enjoy all the extra info.