I've seen a number of books before from the CIA that were clearly for student and working chefs - recipes and instructions heavy on the technical specifications and light on the images. That's fine for the cook with heavy experience, but tough on the average kitchen denizen. So I was delighted to see The Culinary Institute of America Vegetables: Recipes and Techniques from the World's Premier Culinary College.
Let's ignore the very last claim, as restaurant schools from Johnson & Wales to those in Zurich, France, and Germany might disagree. Physically this is a well-illustrated and designed book. Recipes are laid out with the steps on one page, ingredients running vertically next to the steps, and a full color picture facing. That's critical, because students in a culinary school get to see the food when the instructors show them how to make it. But if you've never laid eyes on a dish, it's difficult to tell whether your results are correct or not.
The one place where the visuals are lacking is in basic preparation and cooking techniques as well as information on storage and individual vegetable types. But, realistically, economic realities come into play. The volume is already just over 290 pages long at a suggest price of $40; any more, and it would quickly hit the $70 and higher price of culinary text books, putting it out of the price range of all but the most ardent home cooks.
Recipe organization is in a standard set of categories: soups, appetizers, salads, entrées, side dishes, and sauces and relishes. What is unusual for a book covering vegetables is that it's not vegetarian; there are some recipes that include meat. I was actually happy to see that. Too often vegetables are treated as accompaniments to meats, poultry, and fish, and not as integral parts of the recipe concepts. Those who eschew eating that which moved about at one time won't like those parts of the book, but for most people, I think it's a sound approach. I also saw enough unusual dishes - such as Thai Fresh Pea Soup and Hoisin-Caramelized Root Vegetables - that this collection is unlikely to be a duplicate of the standard "exotic" recipes that you find turning up in one book after another. I look forward to the next volume they do in this fashion.