Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What I have been Reading Wednesday...Food Lover's Companion...

     Happy Halloween!  I can not believe that tomorrow will be November 1st, seriously where did 2012 go?  Well it is Wednesday, so time for another "What I have been reading Wednesday".  As you already know I read lots of cookbooks and lots of food reference books.  The Food Lover's Companion is a book that I actually received as a gift.  A friend gave it to me for a birthday a few years ago.  It is a great book, but not for the faint of heart.  It really is a food encyclopedia, so its not a flowing read like most books, but a very useful book nonetheless.  The entries in this book are on foods, spices, cooking techniques and pretty much any ingredient you can think of.  The authors have obviously done a wealth of research to get all of the information they have into this book.  Want to know the history of Chocolate, there you go, need to know what Louis Sauce is?  It is in the book too.  Not sure what exactly a certain technique means?  It's described in the book.  I actually use this book quite frequently, especially if I find a recipe that has an ingredient that I don't have in my kitchen, I look it up learn more about the ingredient and it always gives me ideas of what I can use as the best possible substitution. 

     In the appendix there is a lot of useful information, more ideas for substitutions, equivalency charts, metric to standard charts, you name it.  My favorite part of the appendix is the seasoning suggestions portion, and I recommend that part to all of my friends.  Basically you look up the principle ingredient and then the book gives you lots of suggestions as to which herbs and spices would compliment that ingredient.  I actually use that passage far more than I anticipated, especially when I throw dinner parties, it helps to ensure that all of the flavors compliment each other.  While this book may be daunting for a novice or inexperienced cook, I would still recommend it to them, this book will help you to feel more familiar and at ease with ingredients and techniques.  For a more experienced cook this book still will have lots of information that will be completely new to you, information that you will be able to use in your own cooking to improve. It is a great book that should be a staple for every serious cook, once you buy it you will be glad that you did!

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