Twenty is organized into, you guessed it, 20 chapters, each focused on a fundamental ingredient (salt, onion, egg, butter, sugar, acid) or method (roast, poach, grill, fry, chill). Each chapter begins with a short (2-3 page) explanation of the topic and key tips for understanding and, by extension, success. The concise, plain-English explanations even helped me during culinary school.

My favorite chapter is Chapter One: Think. At a high level, putting thought into a menu ahead of time will help bring balance to the meal, will sort out what can be done ahead so that the last hour isn’t a circus in the kitchen. On a detailed level, so many mistakes are avoided by re-reading recipes and having the discipline to prepare a mis en place. These are things that professional chefs do that will immediately elevate your cooking. Think.

Good for: Everything from breakfast eggs to an elegant dinner. All around good cookbook for mastering skills.

Highly recommended for anyone who wants to learn to be able to cook without a recipe.