By Thomas Keller, Artisan, 2009. Hardcover. $50; 359 pages
Calling Chef Thomas Keller “detail oriented” is like calling Mondrian “into straight lines.” Keller is a noted perfectionist whose most celebrated restaurants—the French Laundry in Yountville, California, and Per Se in New York City—set a new standard for very pricey, very fine dining, rooted in French technique. Ad Hoc at Home contains Keller’s idea of “family-style recipes” and home cooking. Some dishes you’ll recognize: fried chicken, beef stew, split pea soup. They just happen to be the best versions of those dishes you’ve ever had, precisely described and luminously photographed in a gorgeous oversized book.