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The Flavour Thesaurus Hardcover – Jun 21 2010


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Hardcover, Jun 21 2010
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (June 21 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747599777
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747599777
  • Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 3.2 x 22.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #311,029 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'A deceptively simple little masterpiece' Sunday Times 'An exquisite guide to combining flavours' Observer 'An original and inspiring resource' Heston Blumenthal 'It has intrigued, inspired, amused and occasionally infuriated me all year, and will for years to come' Nigel Slater, Observer Books of the Year

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

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Chad Hubble on Dec 17 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Saw this in a bookstore but, of course, saved HUGE money buying it on Amazon (plus I added a couple more books for free :) shipping). The authour must have spent years putting this together and researching the flavour combinations. Of course some of it is up to your personal tastes but there are too many very, very excellent tips and suggestions and flavour combination facts in this book for you to not have it as part of your essential cookbook reference library. I quote from page 126 as an example: "EGG & VANILLA - Vanilla spirits away the eggy flavor that can be particularly unwelcome in pastries and desserts..." The book, as it's title suggests, is in thesaurus format with a brief description of the main ingredient then the main ingredient and it's companion ingredient listed with it. There are multiple entries for each ingredient. For example: Broccoli & Anchovy, Broccoli & Bacon, Broccoli & Cauliflower, etc, etc. I am very happy to have purchased this book and would have not been disappointed had I paid full price for it, which buying on sale at Amazon I did not pay full price :)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Marie on Feb. 25 2011
Format: Hardcover
Fantastic! This book is exactly what it is described to be: a thesaurus - written in the language of flavor.

I was not expecting another recipe book - I have several of those collecting dust on a shelf in my kitchen. At this point, It makes sense that as a cook, one can create whatever they can imagine if they know how to get there. This book helps with the flavor aspect of creation.

This book fills the void of knowledge when a creative cook is perfecting a recipe or missing an ingredient.

I find this book more valuable than a recipe book, since I am constantly trying to improve nearly every recipe I come across.
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By A. Person on Feb. 18 2011
Format: Hardcover
I was keen to get my hands on this book as I was fed up with the idea that the hobby cook's role is one of 'follower of recipes'. The primary stated aim of the book was what you might imagine - to examine pairings of certain flavours. An admirable aim tackling a poorly represented segment of the market, and although I feel Ms. Segnit has made a fair start in this area, I'm not convinced she has achieved what she set out to do.

I will start with an example, because I can see from the number of people who have found the non-5-star reviews helpful that there are either a lot of fans of this book (itself worth bearing in mind - mine is only one opinion) or a lot of friends of Segnit. This first example, a full entry (i.e. not a snippet of one), is one that I picked out at random:

'Pea & Oily Fish: According to New England tradition, gardeners make sure to plant their peas by Patriot's Day (19 April), in the hope that they'll be ready for the traditional Independence Day feast of poached salmon, fresh green peas and new potatoes. Strawberry shortcake is served for dessert.'

Now, this is vaguely interesting. It tells me about a culinary tradition in a part of the world I have never visited. What it doesn't tell me is why that combination might be good, how good it is, what kinds of oily fish might go better with peas, what it is about the flavour of peas that might complement, offset, balance, overpower, augment or improve the flavour of the fish, etc. The book is full of this kind of entry.

However, for the sake of balance I would also like to mention that the book does occasionally present some very interesting information on certain ingredients and flavours: their history, what separates them from similar ingredients, etc.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Josh on April 19 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book is excellent for the cook that prefers a "cook book" to a "recipe book". It has quickly replaced my other cook books as my go-to book when I'm trying to build some new flavours into an old meal or piece together a new main course without worrying about flavour clashes. My Girlfriend has commented that I've "moved to the next level of gourmet" since I've gotten this book!
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Third Time Lucky on Sept. 9 2010
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book as a present for my husband, the chef in our household, but began reading it out of curiosity on the commute home, and I haven't been able to part with it since. I'm a mere Padowan in the foodie order, but I loved Nora Ephron's 'Heartburn' and Nigella Lawson's 'How to Eat', and this book is very much in the same vein - though thankfully much more lighthearted for missing the background drama.

I'm surprised 'Digest' has left such a critical review (particularly as they've then gone on to give 4 stars!) To my mind, 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. (We've had various discussions as to whether 'Thesaurus' is a misnomer over at Amazon.co.uk - now of course, we're going to argue over 'Flavor' annd 'Flavour'!)

Some of the flavour 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 Indian supermarket for the ingredients?

It's a shame the previous reviewer seems to have disliked the author's anecdotes, as personally I found them really jolly.
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