Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine

S. & S. Dec. 2016. 304p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781476753959. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781476753980. COOKING
Have you ever wondered about that rooster on your handy bottle of Sriracha, or why vanilla beans are so expensive, (and are they worth it)? This new work by a noted food writer and blogger looks at eight key ingredients or "flavors" that spice up our meals, including black pepper, vanilla, chili powder, curry powder, soy sauce, garlic, monosodium glutamate (MSG), and Sriracha. Often it is a highly personal tour, as Lohman goes on site investigating the backstory of these key recipe components. This informative work is part natural history and part memoir, with a few recipes thrown in as a bonus. It is also spiked with some seriously useful tidbits; the trick about when to use artificial vanilla could be worth the price alone. Knowing more about these everyday kitchen items can help us become both better cooks and consumers, plus readers will be able to astound friends and family with newfound knowledge of soy sauce brewing.
VERDICT A lively compendium of facts and trivia about essential ingredients. Purchase for larger cookery collections.
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