Tom Stobart's extensively researched, alphabetical reference guide to herbs, spices, and flavorings, quite literally, defines good taste. Illustrated throughout, this comprehensive volume discusses nearly four hundred different herbs, spices, and flavorings found all over the world.
From Almond to Zedoary, each entry includes a detailed description of native uses, origins, and history; magical, medicinal, and scientific uses; and botanical, native, and popular names. There are also knowledgeable assessments of the gradations in taste and intensity, and the effects of cooking, freezing, pickling, and maturing on every spice, herb, and flavoring covered -- a feature all cooks will surely appreciate.
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Over 400 herbs and spices from around the world are presented in this book. There is a detailed description of each entry, its names, origins, history, and its magical, medicinal, scientific and culinary uses, together with an assessment of taste and effects of cooking, freezing and maturing.Review:
The reissue of Tom Stobart's Herbs, Spices and Flavourings is one of those events that really do persuade you that somebody out there is actually paying attention to what cooks and food lovers want and is trying to provide it. First published in 1970 under the auspices of the International Wine and Food Society, no less, it has long been out of print, though goodness knows why. Tom Stobart was a traveller, an explorer, a zoologist and a film maker as well as a cookery writer. Herbs, Spices and Flavourings is the fruit of his travels around the world, a marvellous collection of mini-essays on more than 400 flavourings, explaining their history, their use (culinary and otherwise), sometimes their mythology and folklore. It is endlessly browseable, full of fascinating and useful information. Incidentally, if anyone wonders whether a book first published 30 years ago might in some significant way be dated or deficient, the answer is no, not a bit. Here, to give the briefest flavour of the book, is an extract from his discussion of what we are now trained to call "fresh" coriander. "It adds a great deal to many types of curry and, ground with coconut, green chilli, salt and a squeeze of lemon or sour curd, is the basis for a most delicious and very common Indian chutney. Indeed, the flavour of green coriander marries particularly well with green chilli, and there is no better breakfast in the world than chapattis spread with coriander chutney and honey syrup and eaten in the early sunshine to the call of doves and barbels." Nothing wrong with that whatsoever. -- Robin Davidson
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