James (Culinary Badass) Beards', American Cookery. That's right, I'm busting out the Beard today. Be warned.
James Beard is the reason why we should continue to read cookbooks. American Cookery taught a bunch of us chefs that there was an American Cuisine out there and that we should take pride in it, polish it, and make a gem worthy of the world's notice. Then climb the highest hill and scream that we should be paid attention to.
His writing is extremely rich and descriptive, invoking spirits of hunger and tradition from the days before mass processing. If it weren't for him, how much would've been lost? Even now kids are less likely to learn traditional preservation and cooking methods from their family as the family just doesn't have one. Fucking TV dinners and burger chains destroyed our food history.
Read Beard. Cook the food. Adapt his recipes. And yell out to the void that we will continue to fight for our traditions!
Venison ham, anyone?