For those disposed to look systematically before leaping into Chinese cooking, Hom provides an illustrated guide to slicing, dicing, stir-frying, shredding, and other basic techniques, and to such specific operations as boning chicken breast, trimming whole duck, filleting whole fish, preparing tree ears and cloud ears, and working with various noodles. There is also a fuller-than-usual review of ingredients--from almond powder and bamboo shoots to water chestnuts and wine balls (actually balls of yeast used to make Fermented Wine Rice). Most of the book consists of recipes, but these are approached in terms of the Chinese ingredients and operations involved, and each is illustrated with a series of procedural photos. Much of this information appears in more condensed form in other Chinese cookbooks, but conscientious beginners can still feel lost (and reasonably so) without live demonstrations. Where that's not available, Horn may be the answer.