The Cook's Companion: The Complete Book of Ingredients and Recipes for the Australian Kitchen By Stephanie Alexander A long title for a long book; The Cook's Companion has more than 1,000 pages. Author Stephanie Alexander has been a chef, restaurateur and cooking instructor, and her experience comes through in the book. She's skilled at writing for different culinary levels - the novice cook will find the book as interesting as someone with more experience. The book pictured is the original 1996 volume, in 2004 it was revised with the addition of 12 chapters. The Cook's Companion is a text-driven book, with no pretty pictures of finished dishes to distract from the information. It has been described as encyclopaedic but it contains more than dry facts - Alexander's enthusiasm for food is obvious. Rather than grouping recipes into appetisers, soups, main courses and desserts, the chapters are divided by main ingredient. The recipes reflect the immigrant culture of Australia, with influences from Britain, Greece, Italy, the Middle East, China and Southeast Asia, but incorporate ingredients that are specific to the country (kangaroo anyone?). Recipes include those for bratwurst in beer, queen of puddings, tabouleh, pesto, mint sauce and rum and macadamia brownies.