I'm grateful for this English-language Dr. Oetker cookbook that I don't have to translate with a German dictionary. This book would appeal to both new cooks and experienced ones as well. The recipes are clear, but they're not always foolproof; they may require a little tweaking at times to make them work. (The apple pie on a sheet pan recipe, though delicious, needs about 25% more dough for the crust, for example, no matter how paper-thin one rolls it out.) The book is divided into Cooking and Baking sections, which contain recipes for various soups, cakes, cheesecakes, wild game, salads, sauces, fish, breads, vegetables, Christmas desserts, other desserts, and so forth. There is a little bit of everything here, and because of its breadth, this book would serve well if it were the only German cookbook one had. Lots of large, enticing color photos oppose each page with a recipe. One thing I like about this book is that one can use the recipes without having to purchase other Oetker products. Some other Dr. Oetker cookbooks have recipes that call for trade marked Vanillin-Zucker or little bottles of Lemon Aroma and other extracts; good luck improvising if you don't have those in your cupboard. While there are many categories of recipes, the selection is not exactly thorough or exhaustive. For example, there is an authentic Black Forest Torte recipe that calls for Kirschwasser, but other traditional desserts like the Linzer Torte and Sacher Torte are absent. There is a Christmas section in the book with a Christmas Stollen, but it doesn't have traditional Frankische Butterplatzchen cookies and other stand bys of the holiday season. What kind of "best recipes" German cookbook doesn't have these timeless classics? You'll notice that the other categories come up short, too. Also, the pictures do not completely match the content of the book. For example, there is a montage of attractive photos of delicious-looking dishes in the table of contents in the front of the book, one of which is an applecake with sliced, fanned apples on top. I wanted to make that and bought the book. I searched for the recipe when I got home, but, to my irritation, there is no recipe for it in the book. This may seem like a small oversight, but lets use some logic here: why put tempting pictures in a cookbook if there are no recipes for them? The problem with a "greatest hits" kind of cookbook like this is it will by necessity leave out many recipes to get a broader sweep of categories.
German bakers use a food scale to weigh flour instead of a measuring cup, but this book convenienty gets around that by offering both the metric weight measure and the standard English volume measure in cups. There are some very handy conversion charts in the front of the book to handle conversions from metric to standard English measure. There is also a page that helps Americans negotiate British language differences: vanilla "essence" as opposed to extract, and a sheet of gelatin, for example. The book has a table of contents and an index to find recipes quickly. The quality of the paper stock is good, the hard cover is firm, the binding is tight. This is a very good cookbook, but resign yourself to the fact that you will have to buy more Dr. Oetker cookbooks to round out your repertoire for what should have been included in this one.