I bought this cookbook when I first moved from home. I liked cooking and already had some cookbooks that were popular at the time (like The Silver Palate and Moosewood) and my mom's old Better Homes & Gardens classic. But this is the cookbook where I really learneds the basics. The photo illustrations taught me everything from how bread should look after it's kneaded to how to debone a chicken. It's been over 25 years, the cover has come off, the pages are stained and dog-eared, and I still occasionally use it. I'm a seasoned cook now with a large collection of cookbooks, but I still use this one as a reference when I can't remember something. This cookbook got me through those first years on my own and the first years of marriage (my husband was so impressed I could make chicken kiev), and my first huge Thanksgiving with 15 guests. If you're new to cooking or you've got a kid heading off to college, this is the book for you. Sunset has been printing and honing recipes for years and their experience shows.