A welcome complement to the likes of Brillat-Savarin and Harold McGee and worthy of a place in any cooking enthusiast’s...

READ REVIEW

THE ART OF FLAVOR

PRACTICES AND PRINCIPLES FOR CREATING DELICIOUS FOOD

A James Beard Award–winning chef teams up with a perfume alchemist to reveal how food gets its flavor and how that flavor can be improved.

Good food isn’t just a matter of taste; apart from the visual component, the presentation on the plate, it’s also a matter of the nose.” Write Patterson (Coi: Stories and Recipes, 2013, etc.) and Aftel (Fragrant: The Secret Life of Scent, 2014, etc.), “that’s why experienced cooks spend as much time smelling as they do tasting.” The authors go on to suggest that one component of being an experienced cook is to have logged enough time at the stove that recipes become suggestions rather than blueprints: a recipe can’t take into account the quality or condition of its ingredients, but “a good cook can adapt...and produce something delicious.” Another component is knowing how to complement an ingredient with flavoring to bring out its best. For example, a nondescript butternut squash comes to life with some ginger, an apple, some vegetable stock, and especially some butter (“fat fixes flavor”). The authors propose a set of common-sensical rules, one of which reads, in its entirety, “contrasting ingredients need a unifying flavor.” Cooked cauliflower lacks punch but comes alive with some dry-roasted cumin. But dry-roasted cumin doesn’t pair well with butter until the butter is browned, when “rich and meaty aromatics are created, much like when you brown meat, and the browned butter stands up well to the strong spice.” Patterson and Aftel don’t shy from heavy-duty science and densely packed concepts, invoking terms such as “cinnemaldehyde” and “flavor memory,” the latter of which they gloss as “the sensory database of experiences that you’re constantly compiling.” From the suppressive power of salt to the best way to cook steaks while preparing multiple other dishes, this zesty book offers some useful tip on every page.

A welcome complement to the likes of Brillat-Savarin and Harold McGee and worthy of a place in any cooking enthusiast’s library.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-59463-430-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

Did you like this book?

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more