This fantastic update to Mark Bittman classic cookbook is truly indispensable. I find myself using this one side-by-side with my Joy of Cooking for my general kitchen how-to. Just two days ago, I made yogurt and ricotta using this cookbook. Both turned out perfectly. Bittman has added tons of variations to his recipes that exponentially increase the value of this book. This is a perfect gift for someone just starting out into the wonderful world of home cooking. It is chockful of charts, descriptions, along with the hows, whys and whats of the kitchen.