When it’s hot and humid outside, sometimes it’s nice to retreat inside to learn a new skill or start a new project. Why not focus on cooking? The Great Cook: Essential Techniques and Inspired Flavors to Make Every Dish Better by James Briscione will help you develop your cooking skills, and maybe even catch up on that New Year’s Resolution to cook and eat better. The book uses recipes to introduce basic cooking techniques–from chopping veggies to poaching eggs. Beautiful photography will help guide you through these simple, tasty recipes. Once you master a basic recipe you can explore variations and refinements that will help liven up the dinner table. The level of detail makes it great for beginners and it has more than 100 recipes to challenge the more experienced cook. Looking for another great cookbook to cake on this summer? Try The Summer Table by Lisa Lemke or stretch your horizons with Thailand: The Cookbook by Jean-Pierre Gabriel.