Knives: I love ebay. I Just bought a NIB 7-Piece set of Kershaw Shun knives plus their bamboo cutting board for $280 shipped Can't wait till they get here. I'm taking a small risk in that I haven't held them but the reviews i've read all indicate that they're best suited for people with small thin hands, which I have, so I figured it would be worth a shot. Plus, they're gorgeous Cookware: I was reading through all of the Cook's Illustrated equipment reviews and All-Clad Stainless consistently won the top spot for all the various pots and pans. They never compared it to copper but it seems to do a fine job. I'm still waiting on my quote back from france for the Mauviel gear, but I found a super-cheap source for All-Clad so I'm considering going with that since I can get it at basically 50% off, although with minor cosmetic blemishes b/c they're factory seconds. The more I think about it I'll probably go with All-clad because I can get the 11 pieces (including a kickass roasting pan) I need to do everything I could imagine for half the price of 7-8 pieces of copper. Here's the link in case anyone else is shopping for cookware. Books: I bought Joy of Cooking and Mastering the Art of French Cooking a couple days ago, but I've been scouring cooking forums and based on recommendations I've just added two others that should tide me over for a while: Jacques Pepin's Complete Techniques (It's apparently more comprehensive than the Peterson equivalent) Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking (Hazan)-thanks esquire. The next couple of books might interest some of you that are already good cooks but wanting to get better: Sauces:Classical and Contemporary Sauce Making (James Peterson) is considered by chef's to be THE reference on this topic. I'm planning on getting it once I've gotten through my first couple of books. Amuse-Bouche seems quite interesting. I've always loved those things at restaurants so I figure I'll get the book. It's received very positive reviews although it's obviously not for everday cooking and requires advanced technique. For those of you that really enjoy cooking however, it might be an interesting challenge. Culinary Artistry is a book I was flipping through at the bookstore today and will also save for later on. It's got great info and tables on what flavors complement what and how to put together menus. It's more theoretical than practical but for someone that's a good cook and wanting to experiment or create their own recipes, it seems like a good reference. Also has tables of when various things are in season, which is helpful if like me you're completely clueless to that stuff. And kudos to whoever it was that originally recommended Penzey's Spices. I just ordered a bunch of stuff and I'm looking forward to cooking with them.