Laura stood up with me at my marriage to David MacLeod, and more recently traveled with me to Lebanon and Syria in 2008.
Deborah Madison: Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
Indispensable - I use it all the time, and give it as presents to brides, young people starting out, etc. Not for vegetarians only - hence the title - a great resource for anybody wanting delicious recipes for vegetables, grains and legumes. Great sauces and salads, too.
Claudia Roden: Arabesque: A Taste of Morocco, Turkey, and Lebanon
Excellent in-depth cultural and social essays on three major cuisines; the recipes include the standards as well as unusual dishes, and the photographs are gorgeous. A great gift book - the Dove asked for and got it for Christmas.