Old Books Made New 2
It is almost embarassing to have to recommend one of the two or three best books ever written about food, but I was reminded of Richard Olney's greatness while looking something up the other day. Simple French Food answers the question "what is a cookbook for?" both ways: learning and cooking. All patiently explained in inimitable prose:
But the crystalline consommé's world now increasingly belongs to the realm of Proustian recall, the tiny quenelles and royales, the cocks' combs, truffle julienne, and plovers' eggs that have garnished it, permitting it to assume a thousand denominations, having been relegated to gastronomic literature; and clarification is considered archaic in most professional kitchens (if cooking methods are respected, the bouillon will be sufficiently clear and of a warmer and deeper cast than a clarified consommé).
Read it and weep, hacks.
Further reason to buy old books, if any is needed: Simple French Food's statistically improbable phrases include "cooked apart" and "stewed gently".