This is a must have cookbook for every kitchen. I collect cookbooks, but this is the only one I actually use semi-regularly. (I like cooking, but I just don't do it all that much, with my schedule.)It has the basic recipes that will get a novice started. I use the Scones recipe on page 40, but I add dried cherries or blueberries. I also use this to make gumbo with a few modifications. I also learned to make Chicken Pot Pie using this cookbook.I can't give this five stars because the food tends to come out somewhat under-seasoned for my and my family's tastebooks, and it's not very ethnically diverse. Mainly Traditional American standards. It won't do you much good if you are looking for Mexican/Asian/Indian, etc recipies. I always advise to season to taste when using recipes in this book. But it's a great starting point, and it will come in handy for the basics. My copy is getting a little frayed (around page 40--hehe).If you have kids that you are about to send out into the world, send them out with a copy of this one!Here's a Danielle Seasoning to Taste Tip!Always have these seasoning mixes handy:1.Seasoning Salt2.Old Bay Seasoning 3.Taco Seasoning4.Chili Powder5.Garlic Powder6.Italian Seasoning7.Ginger8.Parsley9.Black Pepper10.Salt/Kosher Salt11.CuminYou can modify or jazz up just about any recipe to taste, if you have these seasonings handy. Of course, they would depend on the ethnic flavor you're going for. But I put some of these in about every dish. I don't cook with a lot of salt, and I don't have to, if I use Seasoning Salt or Old Bay Seasoning.