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Essential Cooking Library

Digital Enthusiast
The list author says: "Great books to have close at hand in the kitchen that can get you through nearly any culinary task. These are books I've used over the years and like them because they focus on fundamentals and you can learn a lot from the discussions within.

new indian home cooking
wine lovers cookbook
think like a chef
chez panisse vegetables
amuse bouche
salsas that cook
I don't like books that have overly complex recipes and photos of architectural creations. Just get down to the basics."
Culinary Artistry
Culinary Artistry
"Essential reference guide.  Look up any ingredient, meat, vegetable, spice, season, etc. to find out core pairings and complementary items"
Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art
Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art
"Takes you through the basics.  No mentions anywhere of butter, cheese or cream."
Gourmet Cooking For Dummies
Gourmet Cooking For Dummies
"This is the first cooking book I started with and read it cover-to-cover.  Charlie Trotter's commentary throughout is outstanding and gives a modern take on mother sauces and how to cook by instinct (not by recipe)"
Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way
Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way
"There are many books on grilling, this one is my favorite.  Another great book to read, not just grab when you need a recipe."