I bought this book after continuously borrowing recipes from a copy that belonged to a friend. It's worth owning for the chocolate cake recipe alone, and it's pretty interesting just to browse through and get a perspective on what effort the White House chef would put into a dessert... very inspiring.
My previously-library copy is, as expected, bearing library labels and wrapping... but it's just fine to use for a reading/cooking copy!
I'm a professional baker and complete "foodie" but it's rare that I find a book that I use for more than a few recipes, this book is the exception! It is so well done, thorough and doesn't have obscure expensive ingredients that you'll never use it. Mesnier is very mindful of the basic staples in both a home and commercial kitchen and doesn't plug ridiculous appliances that crowd your budget and your limited space. It's clear that he has amazing teaching skills always making instructions easy to understand and preparing you for possible setbacks before you start. Very well done!
My mistake. I should have read the reviews closer. The people who think it's great are professional chefs! It's not that the recipes aren't clear, but when you are a beginner you really need pictures. I thought that something with University would be a teaching book, but 18 photos do not a "lavishly illustrated" book make. And without them you're basically stuck as to how it should look when you're finished ... if you are a beginner like myself.
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