I approach cooking like I do school -- a balance between the book and real life experience. Here are the cookbooks I've found formitive in my culinary evolution.

Dr. BBQ's Big Time BBQ Book

Barefoot Contessa: Parties

Barefoot Contessa: Family Style

Barefoot Contessa: Back To Basics

Complete Techniques by Jacques Pepin

Molto Italiano by Mario Batali

Traditional Irish Cooking

The Medieval Cookbook

Summer Shack Cookbook by Jasper White

Barefoot In Paris by Ina Garten

The Barefoot Contessa by Ina Garten

Zuni Cafe Cookbook