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The Flavour Thesaurus Hardcover – 21 Jun 2010


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; 1st Edition edition (21 Jun. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747599777
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747599777
  • Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 3.2 x 22.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (271 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 996 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'An original and inspiring resource' -- Heston Blumenthal

`Intriguing, surprising and remarkably useful'
-- Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

`this imaginative and beautiful little book deserves a place on the shelves of every serious home cook.' --Spectator

'Goes way beyond recipes...the perfect manual for experimental cooks.' --The Independent

`The Flavour Thesaurus is a deceptively simple little masterpiece, set to take its place by McGee on Food and Cooking as a household Bible.' --The Sunday Times

`With Niki Segnit's fascinating book we can all take cooking to the next level.' --Homes and Gardens

`You'll never be bored with your dinner again'
--Psychologies

About the Author

Niki Segnit was inspired to write The Flavour Thesaurus when she noticed how dependent she was on recipes. Her background is in marketing, specialising in food and drink, and she has worked with many famous brands of confectionery, snacks, baby foods, condiments, dairy products, hard liquors and soft drinks. She writes a column for The Times and lives in central London with her husband.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

142 of 144 people found the following review helpful By Syriat TOP 500 REVIEWER on 1 Jun. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this the other day as I realised, like the author states in her intro, that I am too attached to recipe books. I was hoping that this would inspire me to try new combinations and start a bit more experimentation. And it has. However, before buying its really important to know what this book is and more importantly what it is not.

What this book is not
- a book with detailed recipes (it doesn't really have any recipes at all)
- a book with illustrations of food (there are no illustrations at all of food)
- a traditional cookery book (no measurements, no oven settings, no real cookery guide)

What this book is
- a jumping off point where you identify flavours with a brief guide to examples
- a well written explanation of how flavour combinations work
- a way for budding chefs to try new flavours with confidence

Not all the combinations are to my liking. And you won't be using this as a cooking bible. However, its very readable and as a resource for a budding chef it really takes some beating. It allows you to be creative rather than follow a recipe to the letter. Which is exactly what I wanted from this book. If, however, you are expecting recipes then avoid.
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644 of 661 people found the following review helpful By Third Time Lucky on 25 Jun. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book has had stunning reviews in the national newspapers, and I decided to buy it as a present for my husband, the chef in our household. On the tube home, I had a quick flick through it out of curiosity...and I haven't been able to part with it since.

The concept of `The Flavour Thesaurus' is utterly, utterly genius. Segnit has taken 99 basic flavours (mint, coriander, basil, strawberry etc) and researched 980 pairings of them. The result is part recipe-book, part food memoir, part flavour compendium. (The English Language geek in me feels compelled to point out that `thesaurus' is a misnomer - even similar flavours are NOT synonyms, jeez, though the book retains Roget's format).

Some of these pairings are familiar, such as Bacon & Egg, whilst others (Avocado & Mango, anyone?) are not. Now and then, Segnit provides a recipe; many of these sound incredible, and despite being the most amateur of cooks, I reckon even I could manage many of them. Under Melon & Rose, for example, she merely tells you to drown a cantaloupe melon in rosewater syrup, so that it tastes like "a fruity take on gulab jamun". Can you even read that sentence without wanting to dash to the supermarket for the ingredients?

Segnit also peppers the book with restaurant and dish recommendations - not in an insufferable shiny London lifestyle way, but in an enthusiastic, unpretentious, eating-out-with-your-mates "you really have to try this" way. If only she had supplied phone numbers so we could immediately make reservations.

The real revelation, though, is Segnit's language. It is, quite simply, superb.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By S. Hackner on 2 Jan. 2011
Format: Hardcover
I recently brought this book to a local cheese shop and was reading it in line. One of the assistants looked over and said, "Oh, I see you brought the Bible." Funny - that's what I've been calling it as well!

I originally bought this book for my boyfriend, but read about 10 pages and decided I needed to keep it. I have since bought copies for many friends and plan on buying it for more.

The word that best describes this book is "delicious". I had to stop reading it in bed because it just made me hungry. It describes every flavor combination humorously, effectively, and delightfully. The quip for potatoes and lamb is that they "should get a room". The chapter on saffron made me drool. This book is well-organized and easy to flip through to read certain chapters, but also works well cover-to-cover. Speaking of which, it has the most delicious cover art I've ever seen. An absolutely beautiful book.
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63 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Bunty Brooks on 25 Jun. 2010
Format: Hardcover
The best cookbooks become my preferred bedtime reading, piling up next to the bed. The Flavour Thesaurus is top of the pile and it's gone one better - it's jumped the queue ahead of Steig Larsson as my preferred Tube journey read. The Flavour Thesaurus is anecdotally wittier than Nigel Slater's 'Toast' and more use than `LaRousse' (which rarely makes it off my kitchen shelf). Niki Segnit's observations on flavours, their combinations and cooking are as delicious as her recipes. Her genuine love of food makes this book deliciously moorish; each bite-sized entry makes me want for more. Like Ferrero Rocher, one just isn't enough. There are very few cookbooks that are researched and written as brilliantly as this that need not rely on high quality photograpy to tempt the senses. This will make you laugh and get the gastric juices flowing. The Flavour Thesaurus actually makes me throw on my apron and get messy in the kitchen whilst indulging in a glass of champagne and a Marlboro. I will be giving this book to every truly good cook I know. They won't be disappointed.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Susan Martin on 9 Aug. 2010
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book as soon as it came out partly because of some outstanding reviews, but mainly because I couldn't believe that no one has tackled why certain flavours go together before. So obvious.....doh!

I showed my new purchase to a foodie friend of mine over dinner. He salivated over it to the detriment of the meal we were eating. The conversation wasn't so hot either. To make a point, I left it with him. And then I left him. One copy down.

I showed my next copy to my sister in law and it hasn't been seen since. Two copies down.

My third and final copy hasn't left my handbag. What a joy to have something like this to dip into. Niki Segnit has come up with perhaps the most innovative approach to food writing since Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking. But where as Harold's opus demands scholarly concentration, The Flavour Thesaurus, is full of humour and life. This is what she has to say on the combination of celery and shellfish:

"Waking from a coma in season 6 of The Sopranos, the first thing Tony asks for is a lobster roll from the Pearl Oyster Bar in the West Village. If you've ever wondered why mobsters are fat, you might like to note that these include melted butter AND mayonnaise. Mix lobster meat, a little finely chopped celery, a squeeze of lemon and seasoning, and leave in the fridge while you open out hot dog buns like books and brown the insides in a pan of melted butter. Stuff the lobster mix into the bun. Eat lying back on a sun lounger, thinking of New England."

So although the basic premise is the matching of pairs of flavours, there is just so, so much more.
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