1. An essential kitchen reference

    Tips Cooks Love and over 500 tips, techniques, and shortcuts that will make you a better cook by Sur la Table and Rick Rodgers is the latest in the Sur la table series. But unlike the previous books, this is a compact little book. In spite of that, it is packed with gems of knowledge. I wish someone had written it when I was learning to cook. Rodgers is an expert teacher, cookbook author, and consultant who knows his stuff. The alphabetically-arranged guide has tips on everything from ripening avocados, to icing cakes, to grilling a perfect steak. This is one of the best books of its type I have ever read; every one of the over 300 pages holds a useful tip. This the perfect book for the ambitious home cook or aspiring beginning chef.