It doesn't get any better than Julia Child's signature French cookbook. 

This cookbook was the first to bring French cooking to the American home and it did so, in 1961, in such style and with such thoroughness that it is still considered the best guide of its kind today. As was illustrated by the feature film, "Julie & Julia," the book's 524 recipes are so clearly explained that even the most novice of cooks can learn everything from poaching an egg to boning a duck from its instruction. What makes it most practical are hints for sourcing or substituting French ingredients to recreate the exact tastes and textures of the nation known as the birthplace of Western gastronomy. Recipes are divided into sections including soups, sauces, eggs, luncheon, fish, poultry, meat, vegetables, cold buffet and desserts, and cover everything from quiches to aspics, cassoulet to Julia Child's signature boeuf bourguignon.