From Cool Tools – "The Science of Good Cooking" ... this is a brilliant way to look at cooking, with 50 principles, well illustrated, that demystify the process. How does the way you cut an onion affect its flavor? What exactly are the differences between baking powder and baking soda? Amazing and useful information! Offered at Amazon for $24.
The Heart of the Plate by Molly Katzen I love this new cookbook from Molly Katzen. There is a nice variety of recipes and most have recommendations for what to serve with the dish or optional enhancements to make the dish special or unique.
How to Cook Everything: Revised 10th Anniversary Edition