Willan deserves a good deal of credit for undertaking the monumental task of compiling this expansive culinary reference book. Each of its 22 chapters offers an overview of the particular food, then explains how to choose, store, prepare, cook and present it. Recipes included in the book illustrate specific techniques.
The 42-page chapter on fish is exemplary. There are step-by-step color photographs illustrating trimming, scaling, gutting, scoring, boning, filleting, skinning and cutting fish. This is followed by a section on the various methods of cooking, including an illustrated recipe for mousseline.
Remaining pages break the category into small flat-fish, large flat-fish, ray and skate, caviar and other roes, shark and sturgeon, meaty fish, monkfish, firm white fish, flaky white fish, the cod family, thin-bodied fish, bony fish, salmon and trout, fresh-water fish, rich oily fish and long-bodied fish.
Each of these sub-categories has identifying photographs of the fish and a section of useful information that includes nutritive value, cooking methods, problems, fresh forms, processed forms, storage and typical dishes.