piling on to an ancient thread.
My favorite all round book is the Creative Cooking Course by by Charlotte Turgeon. It was published in the 80's and you can still find copies in used bookstores and online for decent prices. It's classically based but has awesome pics on every page and loads of techniques are explained. There are pages on making simple sauces, pics about how to use a rolling pin, knife safety, etc... right up to an including how to make fancy french dishes, beef wellington, salt crusted fish, souffles and full sized croquembouche.
This is what the Joy of cooking and Betty crocker aimed for and missed, imo. My own copy is tattered, stained, smells vaguely of garlic and cloves and falls open to several favorites.