I was just reading through the recipe thread, but I had wanted to ask this anyway, so here is a new thread. What is your favorite cookbook - and why? Can be different things, a book that opened the door to a new ethnic cuisine or style of cooking for you, a book that provides comfort because it has some special meaning for you etc. I'd really like to hear more about your personal connection to a book than about 'the best book for Japanese cuisine is...'.
I have a bunch of cook books, gave about 100 or so away before I moved to the US and still took a few hundred with me. When I was thinking about this question, I just went to my shelf and realized how many books there are that I didn't even remember I had. I even found a few still in their wrapper. But there are also a few that are well worn, even though I am not a person who strictly follows recipes. My favorite is probably a small paperback by Eckart Witzigmann, an Austrian cook who is one of the few 'cooks of the century' in Europe. He rose with the 'nouvelle cuisine' in the 70s, but has developed beyond that. The book is called something like 'My 100 home recipes' ('Meine hundert Hausrezepte' in German), published in the 90s, I think. I love how the recipes are creative but very down to earth at the same time. Most are very 'simple' and defined by the quality of the ingredients and the history or region where they come from. For me, this had something very comforting, the thought that you can cook some very basic but good food that is satisfying on many different levels, but you do not need 12 cooks behind you to prepare things, there don't have to be 17 different colors on the plate to make it a dish good, you don't have to (my pet peeve) built little towers of food in the middle of your plate. It's the food that a cook of the century, who could do all kinds of things, would cook for his family at home. Other books I read in amazement and admire the skills and creativity (e.g. just went through Morimoto's book the other day with a new understanding after I ate at his place out here) but the little Witzigmann book is still the one i look into most often, when I need a bit of inspiration about what to actually cook. Of course, I am just a lowly home cook, so this may be very different for any pro.
So, what's your favorite cookbook?