This book is a sort of "sequel" to How to Break an Egg: 1,453 Kitchen Tips, Food Fixes, Emergency Substitutions, and Handy Techniques. For the most part, the information in this book is new and not a duplicate of the first book. The sections I noticed that are duplicated are the substitution information and the charts for problems with baking. But, there is some extra information in the substitution charts, though it's hard to tell because the information is formatted differently. The formatting makes the information in this book much easier to navigate with your eyes. It's easier to keep your place on the page. This book is filled with tips and information from the editors, contributors, and readers of Fine Cooking Magazine. There is a lot of helpful information in the book. There are tips for both kitchen equipment and ingredients.
Just as when I read the first book, I found a lot of interesting tips. Here are a few examples...one tip was to store a pepper mill in a ramekin so it doesn't get pepper everywhere when it isn't in use. Another I read was to use a paper plate as a funnel when you have to grind spices to add to a recipe. Grind the spice on the plate (you really do need all that space to catch the spice!) and then fold it into a funnel to pour it in. I don't want to share too many tips, but I want to share two examples to show that the ideas could be useful. There is a two page discussion on the difference between thickeners (flour vs. tapioca, vs. cornstarch). There are also helpful charts on food safety and an easy to use chart on how long to store foods.
One of the best things about this book actually is that you can flip it open to any page in the book and just start reading. If you know someone that isn't able to focus and read long books but enjoys reading, this would be a great gift. I have a friend with a medical condition that diminishes her attention span and as I'm sitting here, it occurred to me that she might really enjoy reading this book. It would be a wonderful gift for someone in the hospital, someone visiting someone in a hospital, or someone who has to wait for a lot of doctors appointments when all you have is do is sit.
If you like the first book, I'm certain you'll like the second. The formatting makes it easier to use. But, again, keep some post it tabs nearby when you read it, so that you can mark your favorite pages!
There are a lot of kitchen tip books out there. We bought one a few years ago by Cooks Illustrated that had a lot of illustrations. I enjoyed reading it, but never really used any of the tips. I think I'm going to get a lot more use out of the tips in this book and How to Break an Egg. I miss the illustrations, but the information is more helpful and that makes these books much more handy to own than the one we've been keeping on our shelves by Cooks Illustrated.
I'd give it 4.5 stars. I don't quite love it, but I do really like this book. The formatting is better than in the first book. I'd love to have a bigger substitution section.
Please note that I received complimentary copies of these two books from The Taunton Press for review.