A Taste of the World's Most Dangerous Flavor, With Recipes

Book - 2014 | First Canadian edition
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A fascinating, unexpected exploration of one of the culinary world's most under-appreciated tastes: bitter.

What do coffee, dark chocolate, radicchio and pale ale all have in common? They are bitter-and delicious. With her new book Bitter, multi-award-winning author Jennifer McLagan makes a case for this fabulously nuanced but misunderstood taste, exploring it through science, culture, history and 120 deliciously idiosyncratic recipes. In the capable hands of McLagan, bitterness emerges from the culinary shadows and gets its deserved place in the spotlight. McLagan is Canada's most well-respected cookbook writer. Her three cookbooks, Bones, Fat and Odd Bits, have each been heralded as ground-breaking and exciting, and she has won multiple, prestigious James Beard and IACP awards. Her favourite theme is the underappreciated food treasure, be it bone-in, skin-on meats in a boneless, skinless society, the delights of fat in a fat-phobic world or the misunderstood and badly treated offal. With Bitter, she's at it again, this time exploring a flavour that has been virtually lost to us in our overly sweet and salty world. Great food and cooking is about balance, and bitter flavours add depth and resonance, aiding in the dish's overall harmony. Understanding how to use, subdue and enhance bitter will make us better cooks. That's what Bitter is all about.

Publisher: Toronto, Ontario :, HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.,, [2014]
Edition: First Canadian edition
ISBN: 9781443419994
Branch Call Number: 664.07 MCL NVD
Characteristics: 263 pages : colour illustrations ; 25 cm


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Nov 20, 2017

Bitter, which received a James Beard award for food writing in 2015, takes a dark but colorful journey through the varieties of bitter tastes that different world cultures have prized. With pages that alternate succulent photography, highly creative recipes, and short essays on specific foods, aspects of taste and the experience of food through all of our senses, and culinary histories, McLagan explores the universe of bitterness: wild greens (separate from arugula and Brussels sprouts) to grapefruits and walnuts, coffees to bitter spirits and Amari, even cardoons and celery. The final chapter delves into the "forbidden" bitter flavors of tobacco and, of course, chocolate. Expect your lips to pucker and your taste buds to water as you peruse this otherworldly compendium.

Aug 14, 2015

Honestly, only two recipes got my attention. Unimaginative .

May 02, 2015

My only complaint about this otherwise outstanding book is that most of the information pages are laid out in white font on a celadon green background, which doesn't provide enough contrast to be easily read.

lib_apart Nov 22, 2014

lib_apart Nov 13, 2014

Like the flavor profile of bitter foods, this book works on many levels. The recipes range from simple to complex and hold to the author's mission of using bitter tastes to create a well-rounded dish. Jennifer McLagan draws from international influences and little known sources of bitterness, and intersperses this work with interesting tidbits about taste and the history of these bitter plants.

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