The Silver Spoon is a fantastic old-fashioned Italian family bible - a cross between an Italian Mrs Beeton and Delia Smith.
It weighs in at over 1000 pages and tells you how to cook everything from antipasti to tiramisu, and much, much more in between. The slant is towards Italian cuisine with hefty chapters on pasta, pizza, risotto etc, but equally it tells you how to roast beef and bake a cake.
Originally published in the 1950s it has been updated for translation, but still contains many period delights such as pineapple kebabs and brain sauce (blurgh). However the basic recipes will keep you returning time and time again - if only for the sheer number of variations on each theme - there are almost 100 soup recipes listed alone.
If you get a veg box this book is worth its weight in gold as it has a chapter for every conceivable vegetable (and some inconceivable ones). For example, there is a whole chapter (4 recipes) on Turnip Tops alone - 3 recipes for Dandelions - 6 for Cardoons - have I ever knowingly eaten a Cardoon? No. But I now have 6 recipes for them!
The recipes are generally very short and assume some knowledge on the part of the cook, so this is probably not a book to start with if you are a complete beginner. However for anyone interested in Italian cuisine or in stepping off the beaten track once in a while, this book is a must have, if only to satisfy that burning question - how do I cook a cardoon?