First of a planned two-volume set by the author of La Technique and La Methode, this is one of the most lavishly detailed works of photographic cooking instruction ever published. Gourmet subscribers will recognize it as a compilation of that magazine's ""Cooking with Jacques Pepin"" columns from the past few years; like Claudia Roden's Mediterranean Cookery (p. 1385), it survives the transition to book form a bit questionably. The page layouts, thoughtfully redesigned from the magazine originals, clue in the eye to critical details without drowning one piece of information in another. But one wonders just how wide will be the appeal of the recipes themselves--most of them intrinsically elaborate, and made to seem even more so through the minute step-by-step format. Bouillabaisse, certainly simple enough for anyone to make, looks terribly daunting in a 13-step recipe that has you cutting vegetables into ""1/2-in. dice"" and removing ""2 slices (about 1/4 cup)"" from a boiled potato. This volume deals with soups, eggs, seafood, and meats; it does have some simple, enjoyable versions of classics like potage Germany or calves' brains with brown butter. But most recipes reflect a somewhat baroque fancy given to complicated touches and demanding accompaniments.