I'd like to buy a cookbook. Is there any accepted /ck/ staple reading that I should check out first?
What books did you start with? What books had the most impact on you?
I enjoy the science of cooking by america's test kitchen and the food lab by the guy who runs the serious eats website. Both tell you the whys of your cooking, and have done rigorous testing.
Find an OLDER version of Joy of Cooking. More recent editions aren't as solid and useful.
I learned a lot about food and cooking by watching Good Eats episodes on DVD. Never have seen one of Alton Brown's cookbooks, however. Cook's Illustrated magazine is interesting.
I didn't know how to cook for shit before I read it. I could fuck up omelettes. At least now I have the ignorance of believing I can feed others without them throwing it back on my face. If you're a fan of how Haynes writes their car manuals, or rather how anyone writes something with mild humour thrown in, then it'd be good for you. Doesn't really teach recipes but instead teaches skill and combinations so you can wing it for later
Careme, Escoffier, Bocuse, and Childs.
Start there, essentials for a good culinary prowess.
Careme being my favorite I would start there. He did invent the mother sauces...nothing you enjoy today would exist without his ingenuity.
My mom who was a professional chef for a time gave me a Betty Crocker one to start me off when I took over an apartment in NYC. It's not a big name or anything, but it's straightforward and not full of celebrity bullshit.