Cookbooks are great reading... even better if you actually make something from them. My favorite is Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. We joke that it's "the Bible" because it's so enormous. But there are simple, no-nonsense recipes with loads of notes and variations. It's bristling with sticky notes from all the recipes I want to make, or notes like "Angela doesn't like this" and a date.
(Noting here that today my awesome Scouts recieved their Bronze Award! More about that in a later post, but it made for a lot less time to paint.)