Verdon who was White House chef during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations and now owns Le Trianon restaurant in San Francisco, does the American cook a favor by translating complex restaurant techniques for home use in much the same way Julia Child tried to do in less detail.
Techniques such as clarifying stocks for clear soups; making white, brown and cold emulsified sauces; working with puff paste and pate a choux; the techniques involved in mousses and terrines; omelets, pie and pastry dough (including pate brisee, pate sucre, pate a crepe and pate a nouille); poaching, braising, steaming, sauteing, pureeing, boning, stuffing meats, fish or poultry; making pastry cream, puff pastry, genoise and mousseline.
The book covers the gamut of basic techniques that should serve any serious cook well, as should the encyclopedic recipes that go with them. The pages on artichokes, for instance, deal with the methods of cooking and cutting them as well as providing recipes using artichokes in artichoke bottom dishes, omelets and others.
Verdon gives credit to Rachel H. Normal, a free-lance writer and photographer and home economist, for helping him translate the recipes for home use.