The Missing Ingredient

Where's this book been?
by Jenny Linford | Cooking, Food & Wine |
ISBN: 9781846148972 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 1/21/2023
Buy from one of these Booksellers: | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT |
This book is in the wild! This Book is Currently in the Wild!
1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Saturday, January 21, 2023
I got this UK-edition hardcover from an online seller. (It's published by Particular Books, a publisher whose logo is a lovely origami rabbit!) Subtitled "The Curious Role of Time in Food and its Flavour," it deals with the ways in which time effects the results of food preparation - from caramelizing sugar to long-term fermentation.

It's grouped by time, from "seconds" to "years", with each section including snippets about various foods that require that amount of time to prepare. Some of the sections are more elaborate, multiple pages about the history of a particular dish or about specific producers. (These are listed at the end of the book in a wildly-tempting section; I know I wanted to order several of the artisanal cheeses or preserved meats just from reading the book!)

The book opens with "the immediacy of taste," describing the neuro-chemical processes by which we sense different tastes and textures. The "seconds" chapter includes such things as the speed with which chocolate melts in the mouth, or the split-second timings needed to produce specific degrees of caramelization. The book moves on to "minutes," with many alliterative sections such as "the exactitude of eggs" or "the wasabi window" (that last was enlightening; turns out genuine wasabi only releases its characteristic hot/spicy aspect for a short time after it's first crushed - no wonder most restaurants use the horseradish-based paste instead). Some sections provide insight into cooking techniques like deep-frying or steaming - and there's a charming reference to a Fergus Henderson video on "Listening to Mayonnaise," in which he demonstrates how one can make mayo in a food processor by listening for the moment when it reaches perfection.

There's even a segment on speed-eating, which the author seems to dislike as much as I do, though with more emphasis on the physical side effects to the competitors rather than to my pet peeve, the sheer waste of so much food, swallowed without tasting at all...

Ahem, got a bit distracted there. The book moves on to "hours," which encompasses many more techniques and recipes, from soaking dried beans to roasting meats. Onward to "days," which includes everything from dishes that taste better if cooled and reheated a day or two later to days-long processes like pickling, smoking, and charcuterie. (In this section, the author was inspired to try fermenting her own kefir, with very satisfying results.)

As we get to "weeks" we're into cheese-making territory - and poultry-raising, comparing the 35-DAY cycle for industrial poultry-farming to a 3-month cycle for local organic/free-range farms. On to "months," which opens with a longish section on honey, and how hard those poor bees work to make it; this section also touches on the production of olive oil, and on the use of industrial and in-home freezers (most freezer food should be used within a number of months for best quality, though it can remain edible for a lot longer). The "freezer" section includes an amusing anecdote about a friend of the author's who'd play "freezer roulette" with those neglected-to-label mystery packages one might dig out from the bottom of a freezer...

Once we get to "years" we're usually talking about things like long-aging cheeses - Parmigiano-Reggiano is called out here - and various wines, though many of the meats described in previous sections can be said to take years as well, starting with the breeding of the livestock. But this section features the Jamón ibérico, very high-end dry-cured ham from a specific breed of pig, and I found myself craving a taste with every paragraph {wry grin}. There's also a section on aged balsamic vinegar - not the liquid-y stuff in the salad-dressing aisle, but a delectable syrupy concoction that can take 12 to 25 (!) years to age properly. I was gifted a small flask of that by friends years ago, and treasured it; the teeniest drizzle would enhance fresh strawberries, turn a simple omelet into something special, add layers to roasted meats... Mmmmm...

The book wraps up with "centuries," talking about food-heritage and about the various organizations that attempt to find ways to preserve cultural recipes and (where possible) ingredients - some thoughtful discussion there.

Released 4 mos ago (1/23/2023 UTC) at Little Free Library, New Searles Rd [OBCZ] in Nashua, New Hampshire USA


I left this book in my Little Free Library on this snowy day; hope someone enjoys it!

[See other recent releases in NH here.]

*** Released for the 2023 Asian Zodiac / Year of the Rabbit challenge, for the rabbit on the spine. ***

Journal Entry 3 by wingGoryDetailswing at Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Thursday, March 30, 2023
I'm reclaiming this from my Little Free Library as it's gone unchosen for a while; will release it elsewhere.

Journal Entry 4 by wingGoryDetailswing at Little Free Library, PACH Outreach in Pepperell, Massachusetts USA on Thursday, March 30, 2023

Released 2 mos ago (3/30/2023 UTC) at Little Free Library, PACH Outreach in Pepperell, Massachusetts USA


I left this book in the Little Free Library on this bright, cool day; hope someone enjoys it!

[See other recent releases in MA here.]

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