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The Flavor Thesaurus

A Compendium of Pairings, Recipes and Ideas for the Creative Cook

Segnit, Niki

(Book - 2010)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Flavor Thesaurus
Baker & Taylor
A career flavor scientist who has worked with such companies as Lindt, Coca-Cola and Cadbury organizes food flavors into 160 basic ingredients, explaining how to combine flavors for countless results, in a reference that also shares practical tips and whimsical observations.

McMillan Palgrave
Unique, beautifully written and ceaselessly imaginative, The Flavor Thesaurus is a completely new kind of food book—inspired, as author Niki Segnit explains, by her over-reliance on recipes. "Following the instructions in a recipe is like parroting pre-formed sentences from a phrasebook. Forming an understanding of how flavors work together, on the other hand, is like learning the language: it allows you to express yourself freely, to improvise, to cook a dish the way you want to cook it."

The Flavor Thesaurus is the inquisitive cook's guide to acquiring that understanding—to learning the language of flavor.

Breaking the vast universe of ingredients down to 99 essential flavors, Segnit suggests classic and less well-known pairings for each, grouping almost 1,000 entries into flavor families like "Green & Grassy," "Berry & Bush" and "Creamy Fruity." But The Flavor Thesaurus is much more than just a reference book, seasoning the mix of culinary science, culture and expert knowledge with the author's own insights and opinions, all presented in her witty, engaging and highly readable style. As appealing to the novice cook as to the experienced professional, The Flavor Thesaurus will not only immeasurably improve your cooking—it's the sort of book that might keep you up at night reading.

Cooking is an art, like writing or painting, and great cooks are artists. And although the ultimate source of creativity remains elusive, all painters have their color wheel, all writers their vocabulary. And now, in the form of this beautiful, entertaining and exhaustively researched book, cooks have their own collection of essential knowledge: The Flavor Thesaurus.

& Taylor

A career flavor scientist who has worked with such companies as Lindt, Coca-Cola, and Cadbury organizes food flavors into 160 basic ingredients, explaining how to combine flavors for countless results, in a reference that also shares practical tips and whimsical observations.

Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury, 2010
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
ISBN: 1596916044
Branch Call Number: 664.072 S
Characteristics: vii, 383 p. ; 23 cm.


From the critics

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Feb 22, 2013
  • ccdavies rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A surprising little gem of a book. Not only a great resource on flavour combinations and new approaches to familiar ingredients, it’s also charmingly well-written - a delicious read both in content and in style. The concept of the book is genius – short little bites of exquisitely vivid food writing, like juicy morsels of food for the reader’s soul. This is a book I’d keep on my coffee table to graze on again and again for a little reading pleasure, and also a book I’d actually take into my kitchen and cook out of. I renewed it as many times as I could and was very sorry to finally have to return it; I already miss it and I plan to buy my own copy as soon as possible.

May 19, 2011
  • ksoles rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Part cookbook, part reference compendium, The Flavor Thesaurus provides a fun and unique guide to flavour pairings. Niki Segnit, a food and beverage marketer from London, has chosen 99 common ingredients and categorized them into 16 families. The "Earthy" category includes mushroom and cumin; the "Woodland" group features carrot and hazelnut; the "Creamy Fruity" highlights are mango and coconut.

The book dedicates a few pages to each flavour, detailing what pairs well with it and why (some pairings even include a recipe). The dyads range from the classic (tomato & basil, chocolate & peanut) to the obscure (watermelon & pork, banana & caviar), leaving little doubt that the author did exhaustive research to assemble such a comprehensive volume. The writing is witty and engaging to boot, making for an enjoyable lesson in cooking, culture and culinary science.

Jan 18, 2011
  • krimcris rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Intriguing insights into flavor combinations, some very unusual, plus recipes and history.


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