I bought the Science Teacher Culinary Artistry for Christmas one year. Towards the end, the chefs featured in the book rattle off their desert island lists, the ten or so ingredients they would choose to spend eternity with if stranded on a desert island. I seem to remember that olive oil recurs the most.
Enter the desert island cookbook list.
With our impending move to Tbilisi, we're in the position of drastically downsizing our cookbook collection, which, while not huge, contains well-used books. Unlike Foreign Service families, we don't get over a 1000 lbs of freight; instead, we'll fly with everything and pay for a few additional duffles for the extras. Space for books is at a premium and has to be divvied out among cookbooks, teaching books, and fun books.