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Monday, January 20, 2020

* FOOD BOOK OF THE MONTH! LATERAL COOKING (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2019,

LATERAL COOKING (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2018, 2019, 612 pages, ISBN 978-1-63557-264-3 $40 USD hardbound) is by Niki Segnit, who also wrote "The Flavor Thesaurus". This current book, published in the UK last year, is a companion volume to that earlier book. As Niki says, the hand book is "designed to help creative cooks develop their own recipes. It is based around a set of recipes which, once you're familiar with them, will prove almost infinitely adaptable, according to what you have in your fridge, in season, on offer at the market, or you feel like making." Everything is arranged by 12  continuums, jncluding batter, roux, soup and stew, nuts, sauce, pastry and more. The chef's job is to taste flavour combinations, and this leads to lateral cooking where one dish leads to another. Segnit and Ottolenghi (in their introductions) explain it all. There is an extensive bibliography and index to help us all through it. It looks more complex than it is, but it is all laid out for you. As with most cookbooks published in America, the book could have been improved if it also used metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Still, it is a very weighty tome dedicated to the fundamentals of cooking – and well-worth a read.
Audience and level of use: the inquisitive cook. No dilettantes need apply.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: this is how chefs make food – they see something, they taste something, and then they tinker with it.
The downside to this book: in 608 pages there are lots of preps and background here.
The upside to this book: it is all very well laid out.
Quality/Price Rating: 92.

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