I’ve always been a Dorling Kindersley fan. The intense research, the clear, concise, comprehensive offering of information, the focus on visual splendour… they just stand alone. DK books are always a feast for anyone intent on learning, growing, expanding and conquering… and there’s probably nowhere more popular for the desire to divide and conquer than the kitchen.
Part of the joy of cooking is understanding the ingredients and how they can best be diced, julienned, filleted and stored. The Cook’s Book of Ingredients is therefore a priceless foodie bible for even the most accomplished of cooks, providing a whopping 544 pages of essential information from buying and preserving to cooking and eating.
Opening with Fish & Seafood, readers will learn all about fish essentials and structure, as well as how to gut, scale and fillet a fish (yes, there are pictures), cut steaks from large fish, even which tools are best for all these jobs. Then comes the fun part – the cooking, with instructions on pan-frying, poaching, steaming, grilling and roasting.
Next are comprehensive notes on fish varieties (again with helpful pictures), superbly accompanied by classic recipes that keep all fishy requirements in one spot… you’ve gutted, filleted and prepped your cod – now you can make deep-fried cod and chips!
Shellfish are also included, as are dried, smoked, salted and other preserved seafood products, making this chapter remarkably comprehensive.
But wait, there’s more. All following chapters are given the same treatment – with a chapter on Meats of every kind, including offal, followed by Vegetables (divided into helpful subchapters such as Roots and Tubers), Herbs, Nuts and Seeds, Spices, Eggs, Dairy (so many cheeses!), Fruit, Grains Rice Pasta and Noodles, and finally – Oils Vinegars and Flavourings. I mean, just about anything you can ingest is included in this book.
The Cook’s Book of Ingredients is certainly as comprehensive as it is inspiring and informative, and the best part of it all is that readers of all cooking levels can take what they need from its pages, and use the book as a one-stop page-turning shop for how-tos across the culinary chopping board.
The detail in this book is so well appreciated – from learning more about endangered fish to historical and cultural references. But the real highlight is the fact that unusual, oftentimes unheard-of foods are covered, making this an educational book as well as a helpful and totally enjoyable one.
Visual splendour is also a real treat – with DK’s signature photographs accompanying almost every paragraph. It’s clear the team behind this book worked phenomenally hard to put the pages together – and it shows.
If you love food or love to cook, this is a must-have for any kitchen worth its salt. Or pepper.
Title: The Cook’s Book of Ingredients
Publisher: Dorling Kindersley
Publication Date: 22/11/2010