Apologies for being lazy about the upkeep of this community.
I've been thinking of the subject of cooking this holiday season, and I find myself recommending a book I still have yet to buy, but is still essential in many community college Culinary programs-Professional Cooking. Why? It's not like it's gluten-free anyway, and besides this is for professionals. But don't let that deter you, electronic scales aren't that expensive anymore, and you can easily divide recipe sizes in to halves and quarters. What's important about this book is that even though it wasn't written for the home cook and why I need to eventually get a copy is how it focuses on the importance of the basics of cooking, how to handle and work with meats, grains, veggies, and other ingredients. ie, many things you will not find out about in the latest copy of Cook's Illustrated and Fine Cooking. I don't think anyone really needs the latest addition of it though, and it's not hard to find used editions on Amazon. Personally I would avoid any edition more than two generations old.
Speaking of having yet to buy, another book I have yet to get, Harold McGee's On Food And Cooking. This, unlike those pop cooking mags, is the real deal. This is the real food chemistry, and it actually teaches you about food without being condescending to the reader. I checked it out from a library years ago and was highly impressed about the detail that was put in to it. It's a shame there aren't more books out there like this, but at least it is available.