By now it may be too late, and you may have bought the CIA book. :cry: As I said here,
that is a book written to be TAUGHT by a chef-instructor; it is not a book for a home cook to read and learn from fully on his/her own. Ditto the Gisslen book (which we used where I went to school, and which I consider the least of all the school texts I've seen). These are books written with the assumption that terms will be explained repeatedly by instructors, and that the instructors will be able to figure out what the students don't know and therefore be able to direct them to the information.
If someone insists on trying to learn from a school text without benefit of an instructor to ask for explanations, my favorite is Sarah Labensky and Alan Hause's On Cooking
(and the new companion On Baking
). Those books have much clearer explanations of the what, why, and how for people who do not yet know the professional terminology.
However, for bethap's purposes, I think Madeleine Kamman's and Jacques Pepin's books are far better. Or Essentials of Cooking
, by James Peterson, or Learning to Cook with Marion Cunningham,
or even Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything
are better choices for the home cook. Why? Because they are specifically written for home cooks who have no one to ask, and who must rely on the book 100%. They are written in the language of the home cook, not that of the professional kitchen. The recipes are written for people who buy their food in supermarkets a pound or two at a time, not by the case from purveyors, and who cook for 1 or 2 or 4 or 6, not in batches for 10 or 20 or more, people who need to make 1 cup of sauce, not 1 gallon.
Anyway, that's just my opinion. :talk: ;)