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The Flavour Thesaurus [Hardcover]

Niki Segnit
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 21 2010
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.

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Product Description


'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

Most helpful customer reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Book! 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
5.0 out of 5 stars Learning the language of Flavor Feb. 25 2011
By Marie
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome book for cooks April 19 2011
By Josh
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
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 - 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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2.0 out of 5 stars Would recommend the Flavour Bible over July 25 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It's okay, Would recommend the Flavour Bible over this
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4.0 out of 5 stars More Bookish Thoughts... May 30 2011
By Reader Writer Runner TOP 50 REVIEWER
Part cookbook, part reference compendium, The Flavor Thesaurus provides a fun and unique guide to flavour pairings. Niki Segnit, a food and beverage marketer from London, has chosen 99 common ingredients and categorized them into 16 families. The "Earthy" category includes mushroom and cumin; the "Woodland" group features carrot and hazelnut; the "Creamy Fruity" highlights are mango and coconut. The book dedicates a few pages to each flavour, detailing what pairs well with it and why (some pairings even include a recipe). The dyads range from the classic (tomato & basil, chocolate & peanut) to the obscure (watermelon & pork, banana & caviar), leaving little doubt that the author did exhaustive research to assemble such a comprehensive volume. The writing is witty and engaging to boot, making for an enjoyable lesson in cooking, culture and culinary science.
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