Organized alphabetically from "Acidity" to "Zucchini" this compendium of cooking techniques, ingredient facts and smart tips is comprehensive and prosaic. Each entry is broken down to its "Basics," with "Problem Solvers," "Time Savers," "Flavor Tips" and "Healthy Hints" that can be ignored or pressed into service as necessary. Joachim (Prevention's The Healthy Cook) includes over 1,000 full-blown recipes, mostly American standards like Pot Roast or Classic Macaroni and Cheese, though a few are more adventurous (Indian Ground Meat Kabobs made with lamb, Black Olive Tapenade). Most are quickly and easily executed, and difficult tasks like prepping artichokes are illustrated with simple drawings. Throughout the book, sidebars feature groups of related recipes such as Five Low-Fat Creamy Salad Dressings or Three Quick Dishes Using Frozen Broccoli (soup, pasta and stir-fry). A feature titled "Fascinating Facts" provides historical tidbits about food. (Peppercorns, for instance, "were once more valuable than gold.") Joachim also offers tips on setting up a kitchen, estimating food for a crowd and throwing a party. At the end of the book he includes charts listing measurement conversions, ingredient substitutes, pan sizes and, for cooks truly in crisis, phone numbers for "Holiday Hotlines" such as the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line. Gourmets will scoff at such low-brow touches (and at the general-audience prose), but kitchen novices will find the content usefully arrayed and presented. (July 11)Forecast: Rodale has staked out a middle ground between the IDS Dummies series and lush, upscale guides. Joachim, who makes frequent TV appearances, should bring some name recognition to this title, which, combined with the Rodale brand, will achieve solid sales.