Michael Symon's Live to Cook
Recipes and Techniques to Rock your Kitchen
This book covers the gamut of how to become a better cook. For example, he says to use butter, not any substitute, and never margarine. Use good salt to season in layers, avoiding iodized table salt. He uses coarse kosher salt or coarse sea salt, or fleur de sel. Also season with aromatics: garlic, shallot, lemon, & coriander are his favorites.
Most of the recipes in his book are pretty involved, in my opinion as a simple home cook, but I enjoy the lessons in caramelizing, making good stock, pickling, braising, pan roasting, and poaching. If you want to try something new, this is the book to guide you through it.
He also mentioned important tools for the kitchen, including a bench scraper, a peppermill for spices, and a Microplane - an Arkansas tool by the way! I think the reason I love this chef so much is that he made some versatile, fantastic dishes on Iron Chef when the secret ingredient was Prosciutto!!
And I just love his recurring theme: Food brings people together. Live to cook. Love to cook.