This resplendent book of Chinese cuisine begins with Kuo's detailed and absolutely lucid discussion, with recipes to illustrate, of the four basic principles of Chinese food preparation: Cooking in Liquid, Cooking in Oil, Cooking with Wet Heat, and Cooking with Dry Heat. Patiently Kuo takes the reader in hand and explains the rationale of numerous subsidiary techniques such as White-Cut, Salt-Watered, Flavor-Potted, velveting, and shallow frying. Each operation subtly alters the texture and the flavor blend of the food which here ranges from the novel condiment (sweet-and-sour garlic) to ""big affair"" dishes like red-cooked pine nut chicken and beer-roasted duck (itself a simplified version of Peking duck). Though Chinese food is generally ""a meal of multiple courses to be served communally"" Kuo urges incorporating Chinese dishes gradually into Western style cuisine--make one dish for a buffet, an appetizer, or an entrÃ‰e before feeling committed to the all-Chinese meal. Even so, this is a demanding book, as Kuo takes operations like boning (even spareribs!) and chopping-through-bone for granted. Delicate, aromatic, and immensely varied, Kuo's recipes are worth adhering to exactly.