New York Times columnist Mark Bittman is the master of uncomplicated cooking, and fans will no doubt be familiar with the concept behind his latest cookbook: Learn a handful of basic recipes and with a little creativity, you can prepare a lifetime of satisfying meals. This is a visually driven book that eschews traditional recipes for charts and brief descriptions. You'll find chickpeas four ways, gazpacho 12 ways and nine quick stocks, as well as Bittman's "recipe generators" for paella, sandwiches and hard-boiled eggs. And for anyone who struggles to create a dinner party menu, Bittman offers a matrix that takes you from cocktails to dessert.

Price: $35