Julia Child: The Way to Cook
A little dowdy, but it's a great teaching book.
Lynne Rossetto Kasper: The Splendid Table
For real Italian cooking.
Tish Boyle: The Good Cookie
You can never have too many cookie recipes.
Francois Payard: Simply Sensational Desserts
One of my go-to books for special occasion desserts. Also has the very best recipe for tarte au citron (and I've tried a lot of them).
Hilaire Walden: Sensational Preserves
Whenever I need inspiration for something new to seal in jars, I turn to Hilaire.
Edon Waycott: Preserving the Taste
Wonderful recipes for my canning habit.
Rick Bayless: Mexico One Plate At A Time
I'd like to thank this book for helping me to win my husband's heart. (Tamales made easy.)
Anne Willan: La Varenne Pratique
This book is my culinary school.
Irma S. Rombauer: Joy of Cooking
I use an older version, before it was stupidly 'modernized'. It's a fine reference for American basics, and the book I always reach for when making biscuits or pancakes.
Alice Medrich: Cocolat
I've made a lot of the gorgeous desserts from this book, but I also turn to the section on component recipes for when I'm inventing.
Michael Ruhlman: Charcuterie
Fun with pork.
Patricia Wells: Bistro Cooking
If I could only have one cookbook, this would be it.
Terrance Brennan: Artisanal Cooking
I love Brennan's straightforward approach to fine cooking.