The Cook’s Book of Ingredients

Seeing is believing. Whether you are a child pouring over your first picture dictionary, or a bit older searching through The Cook’s Book of Ingredients (DK 2010) – it is easier to understand the world when it is made specific.

This is a book crammed with interesting facts, photographs, and recipes prepared by food historians and writers like Jeff Cox (vegetables) or Juliet Harbutt (cheese). Confused about clams and cockles? You’ll find photographs (pp. 76-77) of Geoducks, Surf Clams, Amande and more as well as a recipe for New England Clam Chowder. The editors inform you of availability, flavor pairs, and classic recipes. The photos themselves are fascinating and it is easy to compare different species in terms of size, color, and flavor.

The pages on herbs (pp. 281-313) is just as useful in identifying Calamint or Epazote if you needed to purchase these in a market and don’t know what they looked like. There are seven different kinds of mint pictured along with descriptions of their different flavors and a recipe for Moroccan Mint Tea (p. 297).

The Cook’s Book of Ingredients with its 2,500 ingredients is very satisfying. Put it near your dining table to answer those stubborn questions about food, or to help you learn about cheese before facing the intimidating cheese store.

RECIPEMoroccan Mint Tea

Serves 8

Ingredients:
2 tbsp loose green tea or 5 green tea bags
bunch of green Moroccan mint or spearmint
2 litres (3 1/2 pints) water
200 g (7 oz) caster sugar

1. Place the green tea and fresh mint in a large teapot.
2. Measure the water into a large pan (or fill a kettle with water) and bring to the boil. Pour the water carefully into the teapot. Allow to seap for about 5 minutes, stirring gently once or twice. Add sugar and stir until it disolves.
3. Pour the hot tea through a strainer into small heatproof glasses or cups, and serve. ALternately, for iced mint tea, strain and leave to cool, then serve in glasses over ice cubes.

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