TPC isn't like reading "On Food and Cooking". Anyone can open to the chapter "Stocks", and see step by step pictures with big numbers guiding them through the process. It's an excellent place for people to begin, refresh, and review.
I think Anthony Bourdain said it best, "This is the mothership for recipes and basic culinary techniques", along with Paul Bocuse, Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken (Two Hot Tamales), Thomas Keller, Michael Ruhlman, Eric Ripert, etc., etc. I know that it made a big difference in my cooking for sure.
I noticed in another one of your posts you said...
Originally Posted by ironchef
"I firmly believe that anyone, beit cooks in the industry, home cooks, etc. should have a firm grip on the basics of any type of cuisine before they start improvising or else they have absolutely no foundation whatsoever. I mean, it's cool and all if you can make a white asparagus-truffle foam but if you can't make a basic beurre blanc or hollandaise then you're pretty much worthless."
I wouldn't say the person is worthless, just that they haven't found a book like TPC which would offer them the fundamental techniques of cooking (along with kitchen safety, what different tools look like and how to use them, along with pictures and descriptions of ingreidents). It has expanded information in tables and what not for those who want to learn more, but it doesn't get much more simple than the step-by-step photos they include for each cooking technique. After following the directions (and photos) for chicken stock people can turn the page and see ingredient lists (using the same exact technique) for other stocks (like white veal). Then using their stock they can follow step by step photos to make a killer Veloute in the next section on sauces. Then they can use the veloute skills to produce an amazing Blanquette de Veau, Beef Stew, Pan Gravy, Pot Pie filling, etc. As I'm sure you know it's the simple stocks and sauce techniques (along with basic cooking methods) from which almost every dish springs forth or is finished. This book teaches those basic techniques rather than just provide a list of recipes. I think that makes it a perfect companion to someone just starting out.
Haven't checked out the Dummy book, but I own a bunch of them. I like some of them, but others were a waste of cash. It all depends on who they get as the technical advisor. Guitars for Dummys is an excellent book that I started out with. Auto maintenance for dummys that I looked at for some relatives is a complete waste of paper dedicating an entire section on cleaning a points style ignition - something I'm willing to bet the majority of our vehicles don't require...
Anyhoo, I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.