Wandering through the used bookstore the other day I came across James Beard's Theory and Practice of Good Cooking. What a great book! I sat on the couch the other evening and picked it up, thinking that I would skim through looking for recipes. I had to idea what a wealth of knowledge this book contains! James Beard discusses in depth, but accessibly, how to cook and bake using different methods and techniques. The descriptions and recipes are extremely useful for a person beginning to cook or even an experienced chef. Reading this book is like having James Beard talk to you as if you were cooking together. Suggesting ways of preparing dishes and some of the tricks of the trade he has learned over numerous years. He discusses debates between chefs on the proper ways of cooking particular dishes and will openly tell you which ones he thinks work best. There are useful illustrations on proper technique for roasting chicken or how to make crepes. I recommend this book for anyone who has a love of the kitchen.