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5.0 out of 5 stars Must have product for any kitchen!, Aug. 21 2003
This review is from: Food Lover's Companion, The (Paperback)
This book is an excellent resource to have on hand in the kitchen. It is arranged in an encyclopedia-like format, so you can easily search for virtually any culinary term. Not sure what it means to butterfly a lamb? Look it up for a definition and instructions. Never heard of the spice coriander? Get more information and usages. Want to know more about Riesling wine? Check out the detailed descriptoin. I frequently reach for this book when I come across unfamiliar terms in recipes, but there's so much great information, sometimes I just like to browse through! Another thing about this book that I've found really handy is the appendices, which are extensive. Of course, there are the classic measurement and substitutions lists (both of which are much more detailed than you'll find anywhere else), but there is also information on things like cuts of meat from various animals, which spices work well with which foods, etc. I especially like the section on food exchanges--ie, how many apples are in a cup? how many lemons does it take for 1 tablespoon lemon juice?--a great feature in planning how much to buy for recipes. This is an excellent book that will be used over and over by beginning and more advanced cooks alike.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious Descriptions, Jan. 3 2003
This review is from: Food Lover's Companion, The (Paperback)
I was at first captivated and then consummed by this tiny and yet seriously comprehensive volume years ago when I found one of the first editions. This is the third edition and it is completely amazing how many food, drink and culinary terms can be packed into such a tiny package.
I love the feel and weight of this book and the ease of which you can use this book to look up terms fast and furiously when you are writing about food. The rounded corners on the pages make this a book you can flip through very easily and it is all pleasantly alphabetical.
The Contents Include:
Terms: The volume of the work.
The Extras:
Ingredient Equivalents
Substituting Ingredients
Pan Substitution Chart
High-Altitude Baking Adjustments
Boiling Point of Water at Various Altitudes
General Temperature Equivalents
Hand Test for Grilling Temperatures
Oven Temperatures
Fahrenheit/Celsius Conversion Formulas
Microwave Oven Conversion Chart
Recommended Safe cooking Temperatures
Candymaking Cold-Water Tests
Frying Temperatures
Smoke Points of Popular Oils
Fatty Acid Profiles of Popular Oils
U.S. Measurement Equivalents
Wine and Spirit Bottle Sizes
Approximate Metric Equivalents
Metric Conversion Formulas
Food Guide Pyramid
What's a Serving?
Food Label Terms
A Guide to Food Labels
Pasta Glossary
British and American Food and Cooking Terms
Consumer Information Sources
Meat Charts
Additives Directory
Did I say this was Comprehensive? For food lovers this reaches a point of inspiration unlike any other book on food I've found. I love having so much information all in one book. It is literally a food dictionary which describes food in all its delicious detail.
This book has received an overwhelmingly enthusiastic acceptance in the culinary community. For home cooks, it is also a real bonus and could be considered an essential compliment to your entire cookbook collection.
This edition has changed slightly. The listings increased to almost 6,000 and there are thousands of food tidbits sprinkled throughout the tantalizing pages of information. I love the historical lore and information on the exotic origins of some of our most innocent and sweet selections. Vanilla is suddenly seductive and is actually native to tropical America.
"The vanilla bean was once considered an aphrodisiac, and was so rare that it was reserved for royalty....The saga begins with the orchid blossoms, which open only one day a year."
There are almost three pages filled with information on this orchid. Who would have known unless you were doing intensive research. Sharon Tyler Herbst has given us an incredible gift by doing the research for us.
If you are unsure of how to pronounce an ingredient, there are pronunciations for all the basic words.
The basic bibliomaniac delights in this book include:
-Entries arranged alphabetically and cross-referenced
-Alphabetization by letter, rather than just by word, so that multiple-word entries are treated as single words.
-Multicultural entries galore!
khachapuri
pakora
fraise des bois
- Beloved Terms from French Cooking like "pâte à choux"
- Cooking Methods described for new cooks
- Famous Dishes like the "Sacher torte" are seen in a completely new light
- Cooking Equipment also known as "batterie de cuisine."
When looking up beef jerky you will be sent to look up "Jerky." So as not to repeat information, this occurs at various times. This allows Sharon to be more extravagant with other entries. Did you know that tomatoes were once called "love apples?"
You can also look up cooking tools like a pastry brush or a mortar and pestle. I think culinary catalog owners should all have a copy of this book because at times I've had to point out the error of their ways when they have listed kitchen tools incorrectly. One had the mortar and pestle reversed in their description and this was very amusing to me at least.
This book may also stir childhood memories. Like when your parents battered and dipped "squash blossoms." As I read, the faint scent of frying blossoms floated through my scent memory. Don't even ask me how hungry I get when I read about key lime pie. To find out more about the actual limes used in the pie, you turn to "lime." Here you learn that the key lime is much smaller and once I realized the difference I was able to buy the correct limes for pies.
I had memories of sitting up in a mulberry tree while reading that there are actually three varieties of mulberries. All I know is we tried to make pies and jam with the ones we picked fresh from this absolutely huge tree when we lived in Africa. They are not as good as youngberries or raspberries, but have a charm all of their own.
If you still are trying to discover foods like Yorkshire Pudding, you will not be dissapointed. However, this book does not contain recipes and so it will send you off hunting in all directions for ways to use the ingredients listed in such a lovely fashion. You may find yourself looking for online catalogs or even online scouting out your newest culinary interests.
Cooking is an amazing journey and you can enjoy the journey all the more if you have more insight into the terms, definitions, origins and lore of food. Now I feel compelled to go make more biscotti and definitely need to make crullers if I could only find my recipe.
I guess my only complaint is that this book does not contain pictures. For that you will have to search elsewhere. Perhaps a copy of "Cooking Hints & Tips" by Christine France would be helpful to new cooks. "Cooking A-Z" by Jane Horn is a beautiful discovery. "The Cambridge World History of Food" by Kenneth F. Kiple is extensive and another must-have "encyclopedia" of food.
If you have not yet discovered "The New Food Lover's Tiptionary" it is also a must read and is "also" by Sharon Tyler Herbst.
America's best-selling culinary reference and for good reason! An absolute must for your cook's library.
Did I mention I was absolutely in love with this book?
TheRebeccaReview.com
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Food Reference Book Ever!, May 16 2002
This review is from: Food Lover's Companion, The (Paperback)
"Food Lover's Companion" by Sharon Tyler Herbst is one of my favorite reference books of all times. Not only does she define culinary terms used in cookbooks, but she also translates foreign terms, like flambé, and describes fruits and vegetables!
I, originally, heard about this book at Amazon.com, and then later learned that Emeril Lagasse (celebrity chef) recommended this book. In fact, I just used the book when my mother-in-law was in town. We were ordering Chinese food and we wondered what the difference was between chow mien noodles and lo mien noodles...and it's in there!
There is a section in the back that helps you choose herbs and spices to go with certain foods, where to get more information about certain foods, oven temperatures, conversions from metric to imperial, what some common additives found in your food are, food conversions (1 apple = 1/3 pound), common British and American terminologies as well as meat charts (so you can see what cuts of meat come from which part of the animal)!
I definitely recommend this book to everyone, whether you are a great cook or just starting out. This book has everything you need to know!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must for anyone who ever cooks or eats., Feb. 20 2003
This review is from: Food Lover's Companion, The (Paperback)
I have a penchant for reference books, and I must say, this is one of my favorites. This is an amazing little book. In addition to the wealth of food definitions, it has great appendices (29 of them), including a pan substitution chart, ingredient equivalents (for example, how much volume-wise a pound of broccoli will be once it is chopped up), substituting ingredients, fatty acid profiles of popular oils, a pasta glossary, consumer information sources, and the list goes on.
In addition to simply looking up ingredients which you have not heard of, I find it great for looking up things that I THINK I know what they are, but just want to make sure, or for looking up the origins of different foods (did you know that ketchup was originally made in China of pickled fish, no tomatoes?).
This book is also very well-written and very easy to read and use. Buy a copy for yourself and another to give to someone who doesn't.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best dictionary ever for culinary words, Sept. 2 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Food Lover's Companion, The (Paperback)
I am an older student going back to school and after long years of being away you forget alot of stuff. Currently, I am taking the Sanitation course and some baking courses that are really tough. I was able to find every word in this dictionary even French phrases. I also purchased a study guide from P. Leonardi called The Study Guide for the National Servsafe Exam with Key Review Questions and Answers. This book gets right to the point and makes it easier to understand some of these words and abbreviations like the HACCP Point System. Another book I highly recommend is the Study Guide for Baking and Advance Baking Books. All these books have excellent questions and answers and explanations that will help you get through any course or exam.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Indispensable for the Cook, April 13 2001
By 
L. Nguyen (California, US) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Food Lover's Companion, The (Paperback)
I first encountered the Food Lover's Companion at a cooking demonstration at the CIA (Culinary Institute of America), where the chef said that he uses it constantly. Since then, I myself have referred to it for everything from definitions of unfamiliar ingredients (e.g. babaco - an Ecuadorian papaya; kombu - a type of Japanese seaweed; za'atar - a pungent Middle Eastern herb) to particular dishes such as bourride (a Provencal fish soup) and "country captain" (a classic American chicken curry). I especially love the pasta appendix in the back, which lists several pasta shapes that may be unfamiliar to non-Italians. Overall, this is a great reference for anyone interested and in food and cooking.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST HAVE for ALL cooks, from novice to expert!, March 19 2002
This review is from: Food Lover's Companion, The (Paperback)
This is a WONDERFUL cooking reference book. Organized like an encyclopedia, it contains entries on every aspect of cooking you can think of, from rarely used cooking terms to hard-to-find spices and delicacies. It has been an invaluable reference whenever I've needed more information about an unfamiliar ingredient or cooking process; every term that I've looked up has been in the book. In addition, in contains several very useful appendices such as an equivalency list (eg, how many pears do you need for 1 cup?) as well as the most comprehensive substitution list I have ever seen. Regardless of whether you are a beginning cook or an experienced chef, you will reach for this book time and time again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Better -- and more fun -- than you can imagine, June 10 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Food Lover's Companion, The (Paperback)
This book resides in my kitchen and is used regularly to check food names, food origins, answer questions about particular dishes or cooking methods -- it's all here! In addition to the main dictionary-body of the book, the appendices are chock full of useful explanatory charts & diagrams (Conversions, Substitutions, "Retail Cuts of Beef/Pork/Lamb/Veal", Herb & Spice Chart, etc.). Extremely user-friendly, the book has a wonderful feel and heft, and is a great gift, but not just for foodies...anybody who eats would enjoy it. I was intrigued and picked it up years ago in a Fresh Fields Store, and now can't imagine not having it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Bigger and Better Than Ever!, June 14 2001
This review is from: Food Lover's Companion, The (Paperback)
This book just keeps getting better and better with each edition. It's thorough and written in a friendly, non-esoteric style. There seem to be a lot more ethnic terms in this third edition, and the appendix area has loads more info. I particularly like the pasta glossary and the huge ingredient substitution chart. My wife, who bakes, likes the chart on pan substitutions so she can make sure she's using the right-size pan. This new Food Lover's Companion gets two huge thumbs up from Chicago. Anyone who loves food should have it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the best overall general culinary reference, July 26 2002
By 
Catherine S. Vodrey (East Liverpool, Ohio United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Food Lover's Companion, The (Paperback)
Small but mighty. This dinky volume can almost fit into your pocket, but it manages to cover a great deal of culinary territory in an authoritative, detailed manner. For the everyday cook and for quick and easy reference, go for the power and accuracy of this enormously useful volume. I probably use it more than all my other culinary reference books, which number in the dozens. Highly recommended for the concise, crisp text, correctness of its information, and breadth.
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Food Lover's Companion, The
Food Lover's Companion, The by Sharon Tyler Herbst (Paperback - Feb. 1 2001)
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