Having attained a sort of unofficial status as the final arbiter in American cooking, the Culinary Institute of America (that other CIA) brings the proper authority to this encyclopedic work. Surely no single chef or restaurant team would be trusted to cover such a range of subjects, from yeast doughs, quick breads, pies and cookies to confections, decorations and wedding cakes. Unfortunately, this comprehensiveness is matched by a sense of style befitting an encyclopedia, or, perhaps more accurately, a textbook. Sections in the introduction on "dressing for safety" and "managing human resources" make it clear that the CIA (and Wiley) intend to sell more than a few copies to students and working chefs. The home cook who skips right to the recipes will sooner or later be frustrated by the professional quantities (the Old-Fashioned Pound Cake recipe produces six two-pound loaves) and measures (when was the last time you doled out your egg yolks by the ounce?). In the more complex recipes, frequent cross references on the ingredient list make it difficult to follow the process as a whole. With these caveats in mind, advanced home cooks will appreciate having this around as a master guidebook that defines the standard methods and fills in the gaps left by others. Libraries will find it useful behind the reference desk to handle tough questions, and bookstores might try marketing the book to local restaurateurs.
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Baking is certainly a "hot" profession right now: baking programs have waiting lists and pastry chefs at the best-known restaurants are gaining celebrity status. Based in Hyde Park, NY, the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) has developed this outstanding, comprehensive reference for students and professionals. Hundreds of pages are devoted to restaurant kitchen management chemical analysis of ingredients, safe handling and storage of products in a professional s