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Foodie gift: The Deluxe Food Lover's Companion

07641624111.jpgLooking for a great gift for your favorite foodie? One of my favorite non-recipe books, The Food Lover's Companion by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst, just came out with a gorgeous new edition, The Deluxe Food Lover's Companion, pictured at left. It's the perfect gift for someone who loves to know details of just about any ingredient, cooking technique, or regional dish -- from acai and adzuki beans to yuzu (an Asian citrus) and zuccotto (an Italian, dome-shaped dessert). Expanded glossaries for grains, cheese, citrus, fats, spices, and the like provide even more details on common ingredients -- what they are, how to choose, and how they're used. Unlike the regular edition, this deluxe edition also includes a ton of quick ideas and fast facts, including such helpful gems as:

>Wrap food with aluminum foil's shiny side out to prevent food from overbrowning in the oven.

>If the flavor of your finished stew is lackluster, enrich it with a teaspoon or two of instant coffee powder or unsweetened cocoa powder.

>Dry parsley leaves thoroughly; they're much easier to chop than those that are damp.

>Mint pairs well with tomatoes.

>When zesting citrus, wash fruit, then remove zest from the whole fruit and freeze the unused portion for up to 6 months, using as needed. Run citrus fruit diagonally across a grater rather than up and down.

As it says in the intro: "All Food Lover's Companion books are not only for cooks (both amateur and professional), but for anyone who loves good food and drink -- whether you're a home cook who's curious about raclette cheese ... a professional chef who wants to verify how to garnish an a la Conti dish ... or someone who wants to impress others with the correct pronunciation of prix fixe."

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