I really liked Mark Bittman’s simple yet interesting approach to cooking. His How to Cook Everything Vegetarian has become one of my favorite cookbooks, because it captures in fundamental and also detailed ways the fact that vegetables, along with other healthy ingredients, provide essentially limitless possibilities for delicious eating.
I was especially glad to see another book he came out with last year - Food Matters: a Guide to Conscious Eating. This book wrestles with food in the larger contexts of health, the health of the planet, and ethical living in general. Quite ambitious, but right on the mark.
I’ve included here a clip of a talk he gave at a TED conference a year or so ago, entitled "What's Wrong with What We Eat". If you're not familiar with TED, it's a platform where innovative people speak on a wide variety of important issues. The speeches are free on the web.