There is no such thing as a definitive dictionary or encyclopedia of American cookery but James Beard’s book seems to come as close as any. It is a lengthy volume and to a degree well researched. The origins of recipes, such as they are, are admirably covered and for the most part accurate. Anyone conversant with the entire scope of American cookery will find numerous omissions, however. Lane cake, dirty rice, and crab Norfolk to name a few. Whatever its omissions, it is still the best book of its kind and essential for any library that pretends to be complete in the American field.