The first cookbook I ever used (but not the first I ever owned) was written by Patricia Wells. I still own this sauce-stained copy of Trattoria and remember our first collaboration: penne all’Arrabiata, cooked for a boy during my senior year of college. Because it turned out well (the pasta, not the affair), Patricia Wells became my hero.
That affection was compounded when I later moved to Paris and began abusing a borrowed copy (thanks, Jennifer) of The Food Lover’s Guide to Paris. I relied on Wells’ website fordining recommendations and flipped furtively under restaurant tables through her French/English food glossary.