What I CAN tell you is that I have sampled the America's Test Kitchen Kool-Aid with their most incredible Slow Cooker Revolution Cookbook. It is sitting on my counter, covered in olive oil and tomato sauce and it is well-loved. So I knew that this more comprehensive cookbook, which includes over 2,000 recipes from ATK's Cook's Illustrated magazine, was a foregone conclusion. ATK is known for their perfection of every recipe. They break everything down and build it back up, test, re-test, experiment, and come up with the easiest, tastiest, most fool-proof way of making a dish. Not only that, but they tell you WHY you are cooking your food this way. They educate you while you are feeding your family.
I ordered it from the library, and it was delivered to me in a special bag. That is because it is over 2 inches thick and feels like it weighs about 10 pounds. This is the cooking Bible, people. They have every food possibly imaginable. They have a separate section on grilling.
They have variations on tried and true classics. For example, take your standard sautéed chicken cutlet. They show you how to slice a chicken breast into a cutlet, then give you four different ways to make it...with a Lemon-Caper Pan Sauce, a Vermouth, Leek and Tarragon Sauce, a Sherry, Red Pepper, and Toasted Garlic Sauce, and a Brandy, Cream and Chive Sauce. I made the Sherry one and it was FABULOUS and very simple.
I learned how to store cheese, and how to dry-age my steak at home.
While there aren't colored photographs of the dishes in here (then it would be a 50 pound book that costs $300) they do have diagrams that show you how to fill a pastry bag, how to prepare a roast boneless leg of lamb, or debeard a mussel.
I'd like to say that I had my way with this book, but I did not. I'm not sure if that would be possible. If you were able to have one cookbook in your house, this is the one you would want to have. I have renewed it as much as the library will let me, so I have purchased it for myself. I must spill sauces on it, and I must live from it.
My only disappointment is that I wish they had caloric content of the dishes. I know it would probably be shocking, but I do need to know these things so I can live my life.
For more Weekend Cooking fun, hop on over to Beth Fish Reads.