If there is one book you should have in your kitchen I suggest this book. "The Food Lover's Companion". Here is the link to Amazon.com if you interested in having this book in your kitchen. I believe it is a must have reference book. Right now I have the older edition book but the new Food Lover's Companion looks good.
This fourth edition of a standard guide (formerly called Food Lover’s Companion) revises many existing entries and expands the total number of entries to 6,700. It is essentially a dictionary of various ingredients, from herbs and spices to wines and desserts. It also includes a plethora of terms about cooking techniques. Entries are arranged in alphabetical order and vary in length from a couple of lines to a couple of pages. Each includes a definition and sometimes an explanation of the topic as well as pronunciation of the term.
A 70-page appendix covers all sorts of interesting and useful information and helps make the book worthwhile just for the extras: ingredient equivalents and substitutions; high-altitude adjustments and boiling points; conversion formulas and charts; important temperature information for grilling, frying, and baking; seasoning suggestions; a food-additives directory; and several meat charts. The volume concludes with a bibliography. The entries, found between abalone and zwieback, vary from the pedestrian daily variety of food items, like coffee, flour, and spaghetti, to the rare and exotic, such as berbere (an Ethiopian spice), mojama (salt-cured tuna from southern Spain), and a Tom and Jerry (a hot drink made of beaten eggs, hot milk or water, a type of liquor like brandy or bourbon, and sugar and spices, with nutmeg sprinkled on top). The Herbsts have written several other culinary best-sellers, including Cooking Smart (Harper, 1992), The Ultimate A-to-Z Bar Guide (Broadway, 1998), and The New Wine Lover’s Companion (Barron’s, 2003), to name a few. If you don’t have this book for your collection, it is surely time to add it, as the previous edition was regarded by Bon Appétit magazine as “one of the best reference books” and “a must for every cook’s library.” At such a reasonable price, this book is a mandatory purchase for any library supporting a culinary program and is highly recommended for all other academic and public libraries. --Christy Donaldson