I highly recommend Polly Clingerman's The Kitchen Companion, which is a rarity; a book about how to cook, instead of a cookbook. The difference?
Clingerman goes into the chemistry and physics of applied domestic pyromania (cooking is, after all, the creative use of fire on food, no?), and lets the reader learn how to create his own recipes. How did she arrive at the point of being able to do this? Surely she is a graduate of a prestigious cooking school like the Culinary Institute of America or the Cordon Bleu, right?
Wrong. She's a graduate of one of the toughest cooking schools in the world; being a diplomat's wife, learning to provide acceptable entertainment on a moment's notice without the plethora of choices available in American supermarkets. Her experience led to a thick volume of notes, which in turn led to the publishing of this book.
The highest praise I can offer here; prior to receiving this, I was a good cook but rarely quite understood what I was doing. Now, I'm starting to learn what magic is going on in that pan.
Job search update; resume is updated and is being sent out. Am investigating opportunities both in my current field of expertise (electrical engineering/quality/reliability) and elsewhere (financial/actuarial). Have also fixed the family toboggan, made panniers for my bike, made a kennel for my younger dog, fixed a utility trailer, and have taken a lot more time with my kids' homeschooling. I'm also getting a bit in shape. Hopefully this is an opportunity I don't squander, and thanks to those who keep me honest in searching by asking those questions.
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