This book both comforts & kills in the same breath. While a fascinating read, it almost gives away too much detail when it comes to cooking, which contrary to popular belief is quite simple. And after understanding the basics of food science, even a beginner has ammunition against the old guard. That is if they keep from making simple mistakes. But that's the issue with On Food & Cooking. Knowing the "why's" lets the novice feel more comfortable and dispels some of the mystery. Couple this with any detail focused fine dining cookbook, and it becomes easy copy a master.
That might be the issue with the latest generation of cooks. Books like this let them learn too much too fast. There's something to be said about paying your dues.