Lateral Cooking: One Dish Leads to Another

Bloomsbury. Nov. 2019. 612p. ISBN 9781635572643. $40. COOKING
It's taken seven years for Segnit to write the follow-up to The Flavor Thesaurus, but it is well worth the wait. Segnit takes a revelatory approach to cooking techniques. The 12 sections use different jumping-off points, such as Roux, Batter, or Bread, to explore the interrelations of a continuum of recipes: nuts become marzipan, which leads to macaroons, nut cakes, and frangipane, but also to the savory tarator sauce and fesenjan (Persian walnut stew). Segnit is a witty and experienced writer; home cooks will feel personally addressed, and while there are arguable points (why no donuts under Batter?), the debate feels fun. Each section explores several base recipes, each with multiple variations, which range from quick ingredient swaps to alternative techniques to extensive flavor changes. Though some recipes may be too cursory for beginners, Segnit encourages experimentation and instinctive cooking. She also enables further research with a solid bibliography and numerous callouts to other food writers.
VERDICT A joy for any serious cook.

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