Wednesday, November 26, 2014

(Cook)Book Review: "Bitter: A Taste of the World's Most Dangerous Flavor, with Recipes" by Jennifer McLagan

I'm not a foodie but for some reason this book called to me. I think because no one is ever like "Oh I love bitter things" but the taste of dark chocolate, coffee and IPA beer are really popular. I honestly thought this book was going to be more like a food history with recipes, but it was more like a recipe book with some food history, but it still worked out okay.

(I was laughing right at the beginning with the dedication. It says "For H., Thanks for trying to make me love rutabaga". )

The first thing I have to say is that this book is gorgeous. I have a hardcover and it was beautiful and weighty in my hands. The pictures are phenomenal. It took foods that I would look at in the produce section of a grocery store with suspicion and made them into works of art. I mean, look at the cover!  If you have a foodie on your Christmas list who loves high quality pictures this would be a perfect edition to their coffee table, even if they never made a recipe.

The recipes were a little (okay a lot) out of my skill set. Almost all of them call for lard or duck fat, which I'm sure makes them delicious! The one recipe I thought I might be able to swing would be the beer jello jigglers. (That's not what she calls them but that's basically what they are). At first I was like "eew, gross" but really aren't we halfway there with jello shots already? And these probably won't give you gut rot like those do. She doesn't have a recipe for it in the book but she does mention champagne jello and THAT I can get behind with no qualms. Great for New Year's Eve!

Here's some quick fun facts:

-Did you know that our natural reaction to very bitter foods (namely, BLEH) might be a natural defense against accidentally poisoning ourselves since so many poisons are bitter?

-Most people think of Belgian food as waffles, frites and chocolate but they also love nutmeg! (Mmmm)

-Gentian is possibly the most bitter plant in the world. Boom.

In short, even if you're cooking impaired and not a super adventurous eater (like me) you will still get something out of this book. Even if you just want to look at some beautiful pictures! I give it 3.5 out of 4 stars!

*I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review*

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