time for summer reading while travelling through sicily, has finally allowed me to start reading rather than browsing the extensive culinary masterpiece that is "on food and cooking". i have wanted to begin mentioning books related to food and culinary traditions for a while, and it may be slightly odd to begin with a book unrelated to italian cuisine. but personally i feel that the basis to understanding cooking whether it is modern or traditional, does lie in the science of cooking. and this book which by no means ignores tradition, but takes care to introduce history and culinary traditions along with scientific explanations, is the place to begin.
McGee, Harold J., On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen