We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
It's a cooking textbook and a cookbook. Unlike a recipe book, it teaches the fundamentals and the theory along with the recipe. It's the one text almost every professional and serious hobbyist has on the shelf or, more likely, in the kitchen covered with stains. A reference book.
If I had the time, I would take some serious cooking classes because I love to do justice to the earth's bounty. I know Mrs. BD and I would enjoy one of those 5-day courses in Amalfi or Florence. Or better yet, in some village in France. French country food is the best.
But give it a couple of years and you can pick it up for $.50 on the used market, plus $3.99 shipping AND it will be spanking new!!
Just another cookbook. I agree with JK Brown, you'll get more out of a (good) cooking magazine. Most good cooking is about liking food and lots of practice and experimentation. Never make the same thing the same way twice in a row. Oh, yes, and having a willing taster or two living under the roof.
At the risk of sounding like a red neck or classless hick I find the best food here in the U.S. Not consistent but every now and then we discover a restaurant off the beaten path or right on an interstate highway that makes the best home cooking or country food. There is one on I-84 in Idaho that I plan my trip around to make sure I'm hungry when we get there. There is one in Bend Oregon. Another one in Silver Lake Oregon. Ely Nevada (but last time it was just so-so, must have changed cooks). When I lived in Southern California I knew of a half dozen authentic Mexican Restaurants that were awesome. Every time I go back East I go to two restaurants which I really like (one is a hole in the wall but famous for fried clams). Texas has the best barbecue (of course) and typically they are a bit of a hole in the wall kinda place too
I would like to learn to make authentic Mexican food. I have tried with some success. oddly Youtube videos are a great source for learning to make authentic Mexican food.
Cookbooks are fun to read- I have a shelf of them- but I actually use them maybe 4 times a year. The one I consult the most is an 800 page monster a childhood friend wrote, which also reads a lot like a textbook. The rest of the time I just cook from memory. When I wanted an eggnog recipe last month, I found it on the Internet.
An 80 year old neighbor, who cooks from memory American stuff and the dishes from her Moroccan childhood, used my cookbooks for a cream pastry recipe.
Cookbooks are one print item that I find superior to e-books. For one, they are more readable in hard copy than on a 6" screen. Second, a splatter on a cookbook tends to do less harm than a splatter on an e-reader.
GoneWithTheWind, I would suggest you consult cookbooks by Rick Bayless or Diane Kennedy. I use a lot of ingredients used in Mexican cooking, such as dried chile peppers, cilantro, chocolate, or peanuts [I cheat and use peanut butter], but I am not going to call my cooking Mexican. I am not going to spend hours creating a mole.