I have recently been going to the library, getting two or three cookbooks, reading them, and returning in a week for a few more books. In doing this, I have found very few books that are, in my opinion, worth my time.
My biggest pet peeve is the Dumbed Down recipe. Many recipes I have found will say something along the lines of "Traditionally this dish is made with this technique or with this ingredient, but doing it this way is just fine for the home cook." Thanks author, way to make me feel like I only deserve adequate. Even worse is "In the restaurant we make it this way, but to make it easier do it this way." Why on earth would I want to make a lesser version of something because it's "easier"?! When I need easier, I'll go buy it in a box. Good food takes time and work. Shortcuts don't get you anywhere in life, and I think the same philosophy applies to cooking.
Personally, I love "The French Laundry Cookbook" because, although most of the food takes hours upon hours to prepare, sometimes even days, I know that I am making something the correct way and it will turn into amazing food.
My question to all you ChowHounder's is this:
What cookbooks would you recommend (that revolve around French or Italian food) that will teach me the in's and out's of the dishes it contains or provide in depth expertise in one specific subject, such as bread or sauces or pasta making (or anything else)?