Most helpful positive review
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A superb learning tool and reference
on July 11, 2000
I grew up with great home cooking and always took it for granted. When I went off to University I quickly realized that Macaroni & cheese would not do me the way it seemed to for many of my colleagues, so I set out to bolster my impoverished culinary skills. After several years of over-the-phone consultations with mom, experimentation, and generally bland meals, I still lacked the basic knowledge and skill to tackle any but the most detailed recipes, and I had more questions than answers. Then I stumbled upon Wayne Gisslen's "Professional Cooking 4th Ed." The standard text for many culinary schools, Gisslen's well organized text book is a must for the aspiring amateur home chef. Expertly laid out and documented with beautiful photography, it will take your cooking to the next level. Gisslen has structured his book to first provide you with an in-depth knowledge of ingredients and basic cooking techniques, these are then applied in the many exquisite recipes that follow. For example, chapter 10: Understanding Meats has subsections on: Composition, Structure and Basic Quality Factors; Understanding the Basic Cuts; Cooking and Handling Meats. The following chapter then applies these principles in recipes grouped according to cooking method. The recipes range from fairly simple to more involved and all the ones I've tried have been outstanding. ONE WORD OF CAUTION! This is NOT a step-by-step cookbook that the beginner cook can just pick up to whip up a meal on the spur or the moment. All the recipes require knowledge of the basic cooking techniques which are covered in the previous chapter(s). This is an amazingly in-depth text book and requires time spent in careful study. Also, since the recipes are scaled for the professional kitchen one must scale them down for personal use (covered in chapter 5). However, if you are willing to put the time in, you will be amazed at how much you learn. As your basic skill level increases so will your confidence for tackling previously intimidating recipes. This book will be a treasured resource on my shelf for years to come. A must for the professional as well as the amateur enthusiast and well worth the money.