30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Excellent reference book for experienced and novice cooks,
This review is from: The Cook's Book of Ingredients (Hardcover)
This 544 page cook book just published by Dorling Kindersley arrived on my doorstep a few days ago and I have been flicking through it constantly ever since. The idea behind this cook's companion is to provide detailed information, normally including at least one photograph, of over 2,500 ingredients from all over the world, items both familiar and exotic. There are also over 200 recipes although this is not, in my opinion, the reason why you would buy this book. All the pages have multiple full colour photographs of the majority of ingredients accompanied with some explanatory text alongside the photos.
There are 10 chapters covering: Fish and Seafood; Meat; Vegetables; Herbs; Nuts and Seeds; Spices; Dairy and Eggs; Fruits; Grains, Rice, Pasta and Noodles; and finally Oils, Vinegars and Flavourings.
Each chapter starts off with some general "Essentials" information such as how to buy, store, prepare and cook the items contained therein. This includes recognising different cuts of meat, for example, and the best cuts for different cooking methods and general timings. After this general section, each chapter then goes on to individual ingredients in more detail e.g. types of fish, their sustainability statistics, alternatives, how best to eat that particular ingredient i.e. roast, grill etc. Also the best time to buy the ingredient for seasonality, how to store, flavour pairings information which gives some examples of other flavours that marry well with the main ingredient e.g hake goes well with olive oil, garlic, smoked paprika, butter and lemon. Finally there is a "Classic recipe" which gives you an idea of the well known classics that a certain ingredient is used in e.g veal and osso bucco. As mentioned previously, in 200 cases there is the actual recipe in full for the "Classic recipe" information.
The Index section is split into two - the general index which includes the recipes in italic print and a secondary index which is solely the recipes for ease of navigation. Finally there are a couple of pages with the contact details of various suppliers who helped to provide the ingredients including their website addresses for any online ordering, if applicable.
I have found this comprehensive book very enlightening on some of the lesser know ingredients as well as informative as a central place to come to, to check cooking times, best cuts etc for the more usual ingredients. You will even find information such as which type of apple to use for different classic recipes, which fall apart on cooking and which hold their shape etc. I am very happy with my purchase and will be dipping into this book both just for the pleasure of reading and learning as well as for using it as a reference book when I come across new ingredients in other recipe books or in the supermarket that I am not familiar with. Highly recommended and would make a fabulous gift too, not just for foodies but for those who are just learning to cook and source ingredients.