The Illustrated Cook's Book of Ingredients features information on over 2500 ingredients from meat and fish to vegetables and flavourings. It offers advice on how to buy, store, prepare and cook each of them for optimum results. The book also includes 200 classic recipes.
I really love this book. The variety of ingredients is outstanding. I love seeing the familiar and unfamiliar ingredients and love learning about their uses. I cook a lot, but I still found there were whole pages where all of the items were unfamiliar, such as the fish and sausages section; two ingredients that I have limited experience with. I even learned some new things about ingredients I use all of the time. For instance, did you know that you can eat rutabaga raw? I didn't.
The photographs in this book are large, stunning, plentiful, well labelled and annotated. This not only allows the reader to really get a good look at the ingredient, but it also gives them vital information about it. I found this particularly important. It will really come in handy if I have to hunt down a new ingredient at the grocery or speciality store.
I haven't made any of the recipes yet. I've been too busy learning about the new ingredients I've encountered. When I do make one, I'll likely start with one of the following: borscht (p. 215), baba ganoush (p. 261), riata (p. 239) or moussaka (p. 118).
The table of contents is a bit sparse and only lists the major section headings. The extensive index, though, more than makes up for it. I love that the recipe names are in italics. This makes them very easy to find. I also love that you can look up the recipes from the main ingredient or by the name of the recipe itself.
Highly Recommended. The next time I come across an unfamiliar ingredient (or a reference to it), this will be the first book I consult.
For more information about this book or to browse inside, please visit the DK Publishers website.
I'd like to thank those nice people at DK Canada for this review copy.
The Illustrated Cook's Book of Ingredients by DK Publishing, Dorling Kindersley (DK Publishers), ©2010. ISBN 9780756667306(format), 544p.