Lateral Cooking: Foreword by Yotam Ottolenghi

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Lateral Cooking: Foreword by Yotam Ottolenghi

Lateral Cooking: Foreword by Yotam Ottolenghi

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So the faff is not necessarily in the complexity of the recipes, but the amount of reading you will need to do before you get into the kitchen. Once you've got the hang of flatbreads, for instance, then its neighboring dishes (crackers, soda bread, scones) will involve the easiest and most intuitive adjustments. This book close to fundamentally changed my way of cooking and is still one of the books I regularly use. Niki Segnit had not so much as peeled a potato until her early twenties, when, almost by accident, she discovered that she loved cooking.

If you don’t own a copy of Larousse Gastronomique, Le guide culinaire by Escoffier or La Repertoire de la Cuisine and are a novice cook who wants to take a more serious approach to learning the craft, then Lateral Cooking will fit the bill. That said, it is a book to inspire serious cooks, particularly those who want to be experimental and step away from the rigid adherence to the recipe. This may result in small marks to the dustjacket and title page, please also bear in mind that each signature will be a little different from the one we show here. My new favourite and I would recommend it to anyone who is comfortable enough cooking to break away from the traditional recipe layout and bend the rules. There are some fully written recipes with all kinds of great substitutions or variations but most of the book is like an encyclopedia with embedded recipes in food entries.

If you already have a decent cookbook collection and are an accomplished cook, you may want to carefully consider how likely you are to cook through the book in the manner intended. The recipes in each chapter are arranged on a continuum, passing from one to another with just a tweak or two to the method or ingredients. It’s a great book for reading about food and Segnit does a great job of taking cooks through a basic approach to a food and showing how other foods relate to it. Most of the times, you miss one ingredients and need to replace it with something, you are short on time and need to cut a corner etc.

Ultimately, Signet wants her readers to develop their own recipes based on the starting points and flavouring options, so your imagination is your only limit to what you include in a recipe, which means you might have trouble finding ingredients if your ideas are really out there. Which is to say, one dish leads to another: once you’ve got the hang of flatbreads, for instance, then its neighbouring dishes on the continuum (crackers, soda bread, scones) will involve the easiest and most intuitive adjustment.

You will find yourself inventing novel dishes, just by applying the logic from this book, with surprising results. The book looks at a core recipe and takes you along a continuum, so that you can tweak a bread recipe, for example, by replacing some of the liquid with another form (egg for water) and it will still work (probably! So, under 'Bread', we learn that flatbreads, oatcakes, buckwheat noodles, chapattis and tortillas are all variations on one theme.

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