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Cooking lessons from a book: photos do the teaching

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It was five years ago that Time-Life first talked Richard Olney about serving as technical and creative adviser to a new series of cooking books called The Good Cook.

Whether or not he and the working crew started testing recipes immediately I'm not sure, but the results are certainly well worth the time, effort, and expertise that have gone into this excellent series.

The collection of 15 or more cooking books, each on a particular subject, is just about the best example of cooking lessons by book to date with its color photos of cooking in process -- something that has been done many times in other books but somehow not done quite as well.

From "Soups" you will learn how to simmer and garnish broths, how to make pureed soups from vegetables, poultry, and seafoods. "Pasta" includes recipes for green, spinach pasta and red, beef pasta; wonderful combinations of macaroni , spaghetti, and shells with broccoli and snow peas, clams, and leftovers.

"Pork" begins with guides to cuts, boning, brining, stocks, stuffing and sausages; broiling and roasting; poaching; braising and stewing; and mixed methods with useful tips for casseroles.

As with the other Time-Life cooking series, "Foods of the World" they are available by monthly subscription or in bookstores where they appear two months after release to the subscribers.

Working in London, with a full staff of Time-Life writers, photographers, researchers, and others experts, Olney is basically responsible for the planning and supervision and final selection of recipes submitted by other consultants.

The United States editions of "The Good Cook" are revised slightly to bring the books "into accord" with American useage, ingredients, and measurements. when I talked with Olney in the London kitchen-offices, he was working on the 20 th volume for this series. Although they aim to work regular hours, Olney is apt to be in the kitchens all day and on some occasions until 10 p.m. or midnight -- and usually the staff will work along with him if they're working on something that takes a long time to finish.

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