Still using a small-format paperback copy of the original edition that we got 25 years ago! We are now replacing that copy with a better one, since our old eyes are having a little trouble with the small print, and since we want a book that lays open more easily when we are cooking. Beard, along with Mark Bittman, are the the only two cookbooks for Americans that tell you how to do virtually any common task. If you aren't sure how to fix a particular food (or dish) they will tell you very clearly and quickly. Recipes are not particularly slavish, but suggest ready substitutions. Some of the first things we learned from Beard how to make were omelets with herbs, red pasta sauce, chili with beans, and steaks seared in a hot frying pan. We know these sound very basic, but we still find them to be staples in our household and for company because they are so delicious. When we first married, we used the Better Homes and Garden cookbook successfully to get started (it has pictures!) but Beard and Bittman are better for cooks with even the slightest experience (i.e., those who can find the kitchen!) We have (and have discarded) lots of other cookbooks, but Beard will always be right at hand for quick reference.