Can you recommend some non-recipe based books that focus on history, science, and processing of food? Think Alton Brown, but perhaps with a bit more history and a bit more of a storytelling element.
Also, I'm good at following directions but I'd like to know WHY I am doing some of the things called for in the recipe, i.e. why must I leave the pork shoulder in the fridge overnight prior to putting it in the oven for six hours? Why do so many recipes call for a 350 degree oven rather than 340 or 360?