``The Good Housekeeping Step-by-Step Cookbook'' (Hearst Books, $30) is filled with more than 1,800 photographs and 1,000 recipes. The emphasis of this cookbook is on cooking techniques, and each recipe is accompanied by a complete nutritional analysis, preparation and cooking times.
Explains Susan Westmoreland, food director of Good Housekeeping magazine: ``Many of the classic American recipes are here, but with a fresh flavor twist. People are eating out more, and they're curious to try new dishes at home. I wanted to include the recipes and the techniques so they could do just that.''
Among the recipes: Texas-Style Chili, Panna Cotta with Raspberry Sauce, Orzo Salad with Feta Cheese and Almond Cheesecake Brownies.
``The Essential Cook Book'' by Caroline Conran, Terence Conran and Simon Hopkinson (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $39.95) is an updated version of ``The Cook Book,'' first published in London in 1980. This hefty, 432-page cookbook includes 450 recipes, 1,100 full-color photographs and an ``ingredients encyclopedia'' with more than 2,000 entries, detailing everything from avocados to zucchini.
Rick Rodgers, author of a dozen cookbooks, including ``Ready and Waiting,'' has adapted the recipes for American cooks. He also created nearly 100 American recipes for the cookbook.
Mitchell Davis offers ``simple recipes and sound advice'' in ``Cook Something'' (Macmillan, $19.95). This is a good book for busy cooks who want delicious, fun-to-make recipes.
Davis, a food writer, takes readers through the basics, then offers plenty of tips for each recipe. Everything is spelled out for readers with easy-to-follow instructions for French Toast, BLT Tartlets, Sesame Noodles, Cheesecake Brownies and much, much more.
What makes a great cook?
``I think everyone can learn to cook, but I don't think that you can learn how to become a great cook,'' says Chuck Williams, founder of Williams-Sonoma cookware stores and catalog. ``Cooking is something that has to be in you.''
Williams shares 150 of the best recipes he has adapted or developed over the past 40 years in ``Celebrating the Pleasures of Cooking in America'' (Time-Life Books, $24.95). The recipes are organized by decade, and the cookbook is illustrated with 40 full-color photographs.
Among the recipes: Carrot Soup with Coriander, Souffle au Pamplemousse, Roquefort Onion Custards and Roast Rack of Lamb.
``Le Cordon Bleu Complete Cooking Techniques'' (William Morrow, $40), from the famed Le Cordon Bleu cooking school, contains more than 700 illustrated techniques with 2,000 photographs and 200 recipes.
Writer Jeni Wright and chef Eric Treuille lead readers through more than a dozen chapters, from Stocks & Soups to Cakes & Cookies, with each chapter focusing on a different food or food category. Each chapter begins with essential information about choosing the best ingredients; the pages that follow demonstrate favored preparation methods and cooking techniques.
Le Cordon Bleu, founded in 1895, has schools in Paris, London, Tokyo, Sydney, Australia and North America.
Finally, the authors of ``The Basic Gourmet'' are back with ``The Basic Gourmet Entertains: Foolproof Recipes and Manageable Menus for the Beginning Cook'' (Chronicle Books, $17.95).
Diane Morgan, Dan Taggart and Kathleen Taggart have put together a collection of more than 30 menus created for the beginning host, including a Classic Cocktail Party, Three-Course Diner and Sports Buffet. Among the recipes: Lox on Rye with Onion-Caper Mayonnaise, Chicken Paprikash and Buttered Noodles and Cheese Quesadillas.