For a long time it has been and remains Julia Child's How to Cook. I own her French chef books also but have not gotten to them yet. I also love Eric Copage's Kwanzaa " An African American Celebration of Culture and Cooking, it details various recipes from throughout the diaspora. Yankee Magazine is pretty good for a New England cookbook and The Ultimate Gullah Cookbook By Veronica Davis Gerald and Jesse Edward Gantt, Jr. is really good for those who enjoy coastal South Carolinian food. Anyone have a recommendation for a really good chocolate desset cookbook?