"What I like most about the batter ratios, though, is what they have to teach us about the similarities between the extensive variety of preparation, the impact of the proportions of fundamental ingredients."
Ratio: The simple codes behind the craft of every day cooking, by Michael Ruhlman
It is the un-cookbook. Not a list of recipes, but rather the extremely basic fundamentals of various types of foods, such as the fundamental ratio for bread. Once you have that, you can modify to your hearts content and never look at a recipe book again. I am loving this book!