These are great on their own, but one can start “fusing” all sorts of recipes once you get familiar.
•The Joy of Cooking, by Irma Rombauer &Marion Rombauer Becker. 1955 version includes game and even how to skin a squirrel! Answers most basic cooking questions.
•Nopalito, by Guzman & Adimando. Excellent for authentic Mexican cuisine, including how to make the most delicious tortillas from whole corn. Nixtamalization, salsas, meats, chilies explained, the works. I was skeptical about why he recommended making masa from whole corn (a lot of work). But, having done it, can see he is absolutely right. From humble beginnings to famous chef, his unpretentious cookbook is a must-have for Mexican food lovers, cooks.
•True Thai, By Victor Sodsook. A classic, which includes a remarkable number of chili pastes and seasonings, as well as wide-ranging recipes.
•Peru the Cookbook, by Gaston Acurio. Fantastic! Peruvian cuisine is rightly considered some of the world’s best. Having been there a couple times, I can vouch for unforgettable meals in the most humble of restaurants. This is no picture book, just filled with recipes.
•The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking, by Yamuni Devi. Massive work showing deep insight and experience. From easy to super complicated. How to make ingredients like Panir, Chenna, Dosas, etc. are clearly explained. Chutneys, dahl, idlies, you name it. Very complete and you won’t miss the meat.
•Great Sausage Recipes and Meat Curing, by Rytek Kutas. A great reference, though it needed a bit more polish to the editing. Lots of great information and pictures. Recommended for beginners. But, if you’re really into this:
•Charcuterie, by Michael Ruhlman & Brian Polcyn. From easy to involved. Some illustrations, and a wealth of information. I’ve noticed this one in chef’s kitchens, too.
•Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees, by Kian Lam Kho. One of my go-to cookbooks. Wonderful reading and outstanding recipes. This is real Chinese cuisine. Kho scoffs at Westernized Kung Pao Chicken “…covered in a landslide of sickeningly sweet brown sauce.” Lots of history, explanation of cooking techniques. Beautiful pictures and clear instructions.
•Land of Plenty, by Fuchsia Dunlop. If you want to cook Sichuan, get it! It’s rare that a woman from England gets welcomed into Chinese institutes of higher cuisine, gets invited into famous kitchens and lives in China primarily to study the cuisine. She has other books, which I imagine are also well done.