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The Flavor Thesaurus: A Compendium of…
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The Flavor Thesaurus: A Compendium of Pairings, Recipes and Ideas for the… (edition 2010)

by Niki Segnit

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2671142,587 (4.41)7
Member:LibraryGoddesses
Title:The Flavor Thesaurus: A Compendium of Pairings, Recipes and Ideas for the Creative Cook
Authors:Niki Segnit
Info:Bloomsbury USA (2010), Hardcover, 400 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:cooking cookery herbs spices flavors

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The Flavour Thesaurus by Niki Segnit

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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Excellent source of ideas and inspiration. If you have one or two ingredients but no inspiration about what to do with them, you will probably find something here.
Probably most useful if you already have a pretty good idea about basic cooking techniques, but I think beginning cooks can use it too. ( )
  wester | Apr 12, 2014 |
A very well written, innovative and extremely useful book. Very highly recommended for anyone who's interested in food. ( )
  iamamro | Feb 9, 2014 |
A very useful reference, particularly for inspiring fresh combinations. Something like carrots and cumin is widely recognised but strawberry and tomato? That was a revelation! ( )
  wulf | Sep 29, 2012 |
I cannot even begin to express my passion for this book. I saw it a friend's house and was instantly overcome with covetousness. I got a copy for myself ASAP and read it straight through, like a novel. In fact, I was sorrier when this book ended than most of the new novels I'd read in the past five years. Many of the entries are like flash fiction, stories in miniature. Plus the sheer brilliant, arbitrary concept behind it. Why those flavors and not others? They reflect a British-with-global-outlook point of view. And why not? The wheel reminded me of premodern attempts to organize the world that look quaint to us now. Actually, this book gave me new respect for those ancient ways of organizing information--humans do work in intuitive ways that do not follow the strict lines of science. I was immensely gratified to find flavor combinations that I had already discovered though, on some level, thought I was odd for liking so much (e.g. carrot + juniper), and then found other combinations that I'd never thought of before that turned out to be sensational (asparagus + truffle, blackcurrant + almond, rhubarb + lamb, Sauternes + roquefort). One word of caution: I've found the proportions in the cake recipes to be unreliable. I'd suggest using the flavor combination but making a cake according to a recipe you already use. ( )
1 vote SarahEHWilson | Jul 15, 2012 |
This is a book that I've been dipping into at regular intervals for the last 18 months or so, and I am very sorry to have come to the end.

The idea is simple: take a hundred different foods or flavour categories (such as 'chocolate', 'cumin', 'blue cheese') and describe how they work together, and why - with examples from cuisines ranging from French and Italian to Thai, Filipino, New England-ish and Curacao-an.

The execution is brilliant, not least because of Segnit's ability to come up with unexpected but vivid and funny metaphors: overripe blackberries "dissolve in your grasp like a teenager's handshake", pairing asparagus and peanut is "as incongruous as playing darts in a ballgown".

But more than this, Segnit is enthusiastic, knowledgeable, prepared to try all sorts of combinations, and - like any proper foodie should be - not at all snobbish about the food as long as it tastes good. As well as mentioning great meals she's had in internationally famous restaurants, she credits a pasty she ate in a French motorway cafe and even "one of my husband's signature dishes... simply empty a packet of salted peanuts into a bag of salt and vinegar crisps, clench the bag shut and shake. Mysteriously more delicious than it should be. Good with lager".

She's also good at explaining why things work together. "Lamb and apricot both have an affinity with sweet spices, and while their sharpness cuts through the lamb's fattiness, the intense sweetness of the dried apricots throws that lamb, spices and almonds, all very sweet themselves, into a far more savoury light, making the meat taste meatier".

Some of the entries include recipes, others include recommended brands or varietals of fruit or veg. My copy is now bristling with post-it notes and folded down pages. But I think that this is a book that could be enjoyed by someone without any intention of actually cooking, simply for the pleasure of the writing. ( )
3 vote wandering_star | Feb 26, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Even if you know your 4,851 flavour pairings backwards to the point of ennui, or, conversely, have no intention whatsoever of cooking anything in your life, this is still a book that can be read for pleasure alone. It is as if she has made up her mind to do with her prose what her book invites us to do: to make combinations which both surprise and work.
 
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Epigraph
"...lamb and apricots are one of those combinations which exist together in a relation that is not just complementary but that seems to partake of a higher order of inevitability - a taste which exists in the mind of God. These combinations have the quality of a logical discovery: bacon and eggs, rice and soy sauce, Sauternes and foie gras, white truffles and pasta, steak-frites, strawberries and cream, lamb and garlic, Armagnac and prunes, port and Stilton, fish soup and rouille, chicken and mushrooms; to the committed explorer of the senses, the first experience of any of them will have an impact comparable with an astronomer's discovery of a new planet." - John Lancaster, The Debt to Pleasure
Dedication
It seems fitting to dedicate this book to a pair: my cooking advisor and mother, Marian Stevens, and my writing advisor and husband, Nat Segnit.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0747599777, Hardcover)

Ever wondered why one flavour works with another? Or lacked inspiration for what to do with a bundle of beetroot? The Flavour Thesaurus is the first book to examine what goes with what, pair by pair. The book is divided into flavour themes including Meaty, Cheesy, Woodland and Floral Fruity. Within these sections it follows the form of Roget's Thesaurus, listing 99 popular ingredients alphabetically, and for each one suggesting flavour matchings that range from the classic to the bizarre. You can expect to find traditional pairings such as pork & apple, lamb & apricot, and cucumber & dill; contemporary favourites like chocolate & chilli, and goat's cheese & beetroot; and interesting but unlikely-sounding couples including black pudding & chocolate, lemon & beef, blueberry & mushroom, and watermelon & oyster. There are nearly a thousand entries in all, with 200 recipes and suggestions embedded in the text. Beautifully packaged, The Flavour Thesaurus is not only a highly useful, and covetable, reference book for cooking - it might keep you up at night reading.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:25:09 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

In this lively cookbook, Niki Segnit takes 160 popular ingredients and explores all the ways they might be combined in the kitchen. Including quirky observations and practical information, 'The Flavour Thesaurus' also includes hundreds of recipes for truly original culinary offerings.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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