1. Martha Stewart’s Cooking School: Lessons and Recipes for the Home Cook By Martha Stewart, Clarkson Potter, 2008. Hardcover. $45; 504 pages
Those irritated by her big media personality are likely to forget that Martha Stewart long ago made pin-perfect instruction the heart of her industry. Few personalities in modern cookery insist that information be presented with this much patience and precision. There’s no arrogance in these pages, only a genuine desire that readers learn proper technique en route to becoming capable cooks. There are lots of visual cues to lead even novices confidently down the path to success.