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



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

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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