First, a word about cookbooks...
I am a cookbook connoisseur. I have thumbed through about a thousand over the years at this point thanks to my local library, some chef friends, and many many bookstores and gifts. After a while you get to know which books are going to be on your shelf forever, and which, you'd just as soon forget about.
For me, there are really only five types of cookbooks: 1)Those with recipes and instructions only 2)Those with recipes and illustrated pictures 3) Those with recipes and black and white pictures 4)Those with a recipes and a few color pictures here and there and 5) Those with recipes and color photos for every recipe. As a passionate cook, you must understand that on this thing we call planet earth, there are very few life experiences that are ones in which you will actively utilize all five of your senses at one time, and one of these is cooking.
Not to slight any of the authors of the first three categories, but I feel those type of books rob you of some of that experience, especially if you are completely new to the kitchen and don't know a thing about cooking. You need to be immersed in the food, in the colors, the sites, the smells, the tastes, the feel of the ingredients, and to start that journey, you need a big beautiful colorful cookbook with photos to tantalize, easily presented with ingredients you can recognize (especially if you are new), and/or ones with some type of pictured demonstration of how to achieve certain skills.
The books I've specifically selected serve that purpose. They are easy to read, full of colorful pictures, contain explanations and how to's, have easy accessible ingredients, and make it easy for even someone who has never set foot in a kitchen, to get their feet wet and hopefully learn to love cooking.
1. "How to Cook Everything" (Mark Bittman)
2. "Food Network Magazine Great Easy Meals: 250 Fun & Fast Recipes Paperback" (Food Network Magazine)
3. Martha Stewart's Cooking School: Lessons and Recipes for the Home Cook Hardcover (Martha Stewart)
4. "The Cook's Book" (Jill Norman)
5. "My Cooking Class"
*is a an entire series of books from basic cooking, to baking, to cultural cooking. Seek out the entire series
6. Delish Cooking School: Learning to Cook Step-by-Step (Delish)
7. 200 Skills Every Cook Must Have: The Step-by-Step Methods That Will Turn a Good Cook into a Great Cook ( Clara Paul and Eric Treuille)
8. Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook