A manual of buying and storage information, put together with little fluff. The longest sections deal with the handling of perishables (produce, meat and fish, and dairy products), with some attention to canned or processed equivalents. Grains, cooking staples (e.g., vinegars and oils), beverages of various sorts, and sweets and snacks are briefly discussed. There is also a quick general introduction to principles of food spoilage and storage, and a final glance at ""kitchen crises,"" i.e., food poisoning, insect invasions, power failures. The information is straightforward, but better geared to people who unquestioningly buy California-grown supermarket produce and use the freezer as a second pantry than to those interested in buying fresh produce and making the most of it. You won't learn the best times for buying genuinely fresh locally grown asparagus and strawberries, or discover much about regional farmer's-market treasures--but you will find sensible instructions for storing and freezing West Coast table grapes, asparagus, and strawberries. Bailey is best at setting forth professionally accepted safety guidelines and laying down eternal verities in no-nonsense language: meat does in the end ""become very dry and tasteless"" in the best-kept freezer, ""light alters the flavor of milk,"" ""the refrigerator is no place for a tomato."" Her command of general food-chemistry basics is less secure; it is dismaying to find--within the space of three sentences--accounts of fructose and levulose clearly written without the least idea that they are the same thing. Much of the information purveyed here could be found in the better kitchen bibles--but certainly not in as usable or current a presentation. Bailey does not pretend to be the pro's pro or the last word, but she has intelligently gauged the sort of information that most people would like to see brought together for convenient reference.