Review: The Culinarian
The other day I was offered the chance to review a new food book, not a cookbook mind you, a food book. In fact it is called a kitchen desk reference book. Neat huh?
Have you ever wondered how to trim an artichoke or choose a ripe cantaloupe? What the difference is between a yam and a sweet potato? Or gotten home from the farmer’s market and thought, “now what do I do with fiddlehead ferns?” This culinary reference has the answers to these and many other culinary conundrums, questions and techniques.
The Culinarian: A Kitchen Desk Reference by Barbara Ann Kipfer is kind of a cooking encyclopedia filled with definitions and origins for all manner of ingredients and techniques. What’s more there are ample illustrations (by Kyle Kipfer) that give visual representation to various subjects. Sorry, no food porn. Unlike an encyclopedia the author gives in-depth instructions on how to use complex ingredients often listens various incarnations of an ingredient (like over 100 types of beer).
According to the publisher, (Wiley) Barbara Ann Kipfer is an expert researcher and list-maker with more than 40 books to her name. She has researched and compiled reference titles ranging from Roget’s International Thesaurus and the Dictionary of American Slang to books of trivia and lists such as The Order of Things, How It Happens, and 14,000 Things to Be Happy About, which has more than a million copies in print.
Kipfer has worked as the Chief Lexicographer for Dictionary.com, as well as for Answers.com, Ask Jeeves, and a number of research companies. She holds advanced degrees in a broad range of subjects including Linguistics, Archaeology, Buddhist Studies, and Physical Education, and is a foodie and an avid cook.
I am absolutely in love with The Culinarian. No doubt it will occupy a place on my shelf right between The Joy of Cooking and On Food and Cooking.