Well, IMHO, for cooking the best general resource is The Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker. Personally, I prefer the editions that came out in the '60’s & '70’s than the newer ones, so I usually recommend a trip to your favorite used bookstore for that.
To combine my love of cooking with my love of history, I recommend Pleyn Delit: Medieval Cookery for Modern Cooks by Constance B. Hieatt, Brenda Hosington, Sharon Butler.
On the medieval history front, Distant Mirror by Barbara Tuchman is one of the best out there.
As far as my love of true crime (slightly morbid topic, I know) I recommend just about anything by Ann Rule. Most of her stuff is fairly neutral as far as “picking sides”.
I love TV & movies, too, but can’t think of any one book I’d specifically recommend. I also work as a medical biller for a living, but unless you want to read the ICD-9 or the CPT Professional Edition , you’re pretty much out of luck.