I second Alton Brown's "I'm Just Here For The Food". It's the science behind the techniques, with Master recipes that can be adapted to any "gourmet" usage. Also the companion book "I'm Just Here For More Food" does the same things for baking techniques.
But the mania is great! I mean, I never would have thought of coring a pear with a drill gun! And since his show is so entertaining, even my 10-yr. old watches it, so she learns what to do and WHY, just like me.