The operative word here is ""beginner,"" and Sokolov (The Saucier's Apprentice) spares neither space nor effort to provide detailed instructions on assembling and cooking his dishes. Rather like a tour guide, he introduces the reader to the kitchen, starting with the stove: how it works, the advantages of gas burners over electric, how to light a gas oven with no pilot light, the appropriate dishes for oven, broiler and burners. Then comes the refrigerator, pots, pans and other utensils, blenders and small appliances, how to read a recipe, how to market and so on. After all this, his first recipes are those that require no cooking: dips, cole slaw, steak tartare, gravlax, mayonnaise, etc. In his instructions for guacamole, Sokolov devotes over 200 words on how to chop an onion; while his handmade mayonnaise runs on for well over 2000 words (250 on how to crack and separate an egg). Later recipes are cross-referenced when a procedure is repeated. His dishes are fairly basic and appropriate for neophyte cooks. He includes desserts before main dishes because they ""tend to take more time. . .and practiced cooks tackle them first."" Then come recipes for breakfast followed by main courses for one, for two, for four or more and, finally, holiday fare (Thanksgiving, Easter, Purim, etc.). There is a separate chapter for vegetables and another for a miscellany of breads, sauces, preserves, etc. In sum: A patiently detailed introduction to cooking for those whose culinary experience is limited to TV dinners.