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Craig Claiborne's Kitchen Primer:
As the former food and restaurant critic for The New York Times and the author of several distinguished cookbooks, Craig Claiborne has earned a reputation as the great educator of the American palate. In this classically elegant and profusely illustrated book of recipes and techniques, he imparts the kind of culinary knowledge that is essential to making any dish -- from a humble boiled egg to the most ambitious of souffles -- but that most cooks only acquire through years of trial and error.
Claiborne tells us what tools and utensils make a kitchen well stocked; how to shell a shrimp or peel a peach; the whats and whys of soups and sauces, steaks and seafood, potatoes baked, whipped, and boiled. He conducts us through every step of many splendid meals, from clear soups to elaborate desserts. The fact that he does all this with the thoroughness and charm of a great teacher makes Craig Claiborne's Kitchen Primer an invaluable aid for both the novice and the experienced chef.
From the Trade Paperback edition. [via]