- 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: 429 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,375 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Flavour Thesaurus Hardcover – 21 Jun 2010
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'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'
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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I have both the hardback and the Kindle edition, and though I would rarely say it, the Kindle edition has a slight edge if you were are reading just for reference purposes, as the hyperlinks let you switch quickly from one flavour combination to another - love the production values of the original though. Cannot recommend enough in either form.
Niki Segnit has really done her homework--for anyone interested in flavours, food, chemistry, gastronomy, history, international cuisine...this book really encompasses that many areas.
It's a great reference book for experimental cooks--look up one of the 99 ingredients (which are also categorised in a beautiful chart grouping similar flavours together) and you'll find a little chapter wherein you'll be given flavours/ingredients it pairs well with, sometimes with an example from history or international cuisine, sometimes with an explanation based on chemical compounds, sometimes just with an anecdote, sometimes with a recipe suggestion. Don't let the words 'chemical compounds' put you off--nothing about this is dull or dry in the slightest.
It is the sort of book that keeps you awake for hours longer than you intended, as you fall down the rabbit hole and follow links from one ingredient to another, often forgetting where you started completely...As I write, British asparagus season is peaking, so let me give you an example. Looking up asparagus (categorised as 'sulphurous'), I can see one of the pairings is asparagus and lemon, which is filed under lemon, and so takes me to the lemon chapter ('citrussy', of course). Talking about lemon and asparagus leads her to mention risi e bisi, an Italian dish of rice and peas--you're directed to the pea and hard cheese entry for details. While you're there you might notice that there is also a pea and asparagus entry...asparagus goes with lemon, which goes with peas, which go with hard cheese, which goes with asparagus...which all may inspire you to make a pea and asparagus risotto, perhaps finished with some grated parmesan and a flutter of lemon zest. Want to add a herb? You could look up lemon or peas or asparagus and see which herbs go with those ingredients. You can use this book to build your own recipes, as simple or complex and innovative as you want. I'm making myself hungry.
That's an example of one of the more conventional pairings, but trust me there are plenty that are likely to be new to you and make you consider options that you otherwise wouldn't have. Anise and pineapple, perhaps, or watermelon and cinnamon?
The writing is lighthearted while being incredibly informative, the anecdotes interesting, the recipes intriguing. If you really love food, you need this book. So brilliant that I have both the hardback and the Kindle versions, so that I always have it with me to browse during an idle moment.
As for reading it through novel style, I don't think that's how it's meant to be done, but I've randomly read a few of my favorite flavors to get a feel for ideas when I cook. I don't know why I'd never before put onions and apple on pork before, but that's one awesome thing I read at night while browsing "pork", and cooked the next day.
I have the kindle version, and the image of the flavor wheel is terrible quality - I even on kindle for pc the source image is just terrible quality, you can't read the labels. Google flavor map, though, you'll find related images that let you combine similar tastes, when that's your game. Most are also more complete than this flavor wheel too, but this book has to be docked a star for messing up the only image in the book...!
How often have you been left with some spices and vegetables and wondered what combinations would be good together? This book classifies tastes and then makes suggestions. It is not a recipe book, although there are recipes in the book, its a commentary on which tastes work, and which don't.
If you've got some left over celery for instance it suggests ideas and combinations; equally if you feel like eating chicken and want some ideas on unusual foods to go with chicken then look in the index and the options are there. It certainly avoids the unpleasantness that experimenting can produce.
The book itself is hardback, easy to read, and the colour food combination wheel (half illustrated on the cover and in full o the inside pages) is very informative.
A useful reference and ideas book for all serious cooks.
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