Interestingly, it was not at a different time. The cookbook that had the greatest influence on me was her very first one, 'The Classic Italian Cookbook', which I discovered in the early 1980's (she wrote it in 1973, so I was definitely not ahead of the curve in discovering her, but then I didn't get around to Julia Childs until after that, so I have never been a trend setter (Alice Waters being the exception--I was on to her right away). Bittman says that the book showed that Italian food could me more than a red sauce on pasta, but the thing that resonated for me is that she made her own pasta, and she showed you, step by step, how you could too. I was in Providence at the time, which is a town where you can find fresh pasta without any trouble at all, but I was soon to leave there, and have never since lived in a place where you could get excellent fresh pasta.
The other thing I learned from her was that soup wasn't all that complicated. Her hallmark as a cook is keeping it simple--few ingredients, highlight the flavor of the food rather than making it all fussy, and I have been making great soup for the bulk of my adult life, starting with things I learned from her. A couple of years ago I bought a second copy of 'The Classic Italian Cookbook'--it wsa out of print of course, so I bought a used version, but my own copy had literally fallen apart, and while I am not opposed to taping things back together, I wanted to be sure I had a useable copy of one of the cookbooks that marked the beginning of my home cooking career.