A Foodie Book Review

The Culinarian, A Kitchen Desk Reference by Barbara Ann Kipfer with illustrations by her son Kyle Kipfer came out late last year. Get this book! It’s encyclopedic and, given that it’s written by a lexicographer, it’s all well-researched and expertly detailed.

I’m only on page 121 but I’ve learned more about food than I’ve gathered in the past couple of years from other sources.

Here are just a couple samples of things from the book that may help you in your daily life in the Hamptons: from page viii, “NATURAL FLAVORING…include ingredients like hydrolyzed protein and HVP, both of which contain MSG.” or how about this nugget from page 116, “CHILE ESSENTIALS…The capsaicin that causes the heat in chiles is not water soluble, so water does not relieve the pain. Milk with its butterfat, ice cream, or starches such as rice or potatoes are best at relieving the burn pain. Beer and wine will not cool the mouth either. In fact, they will have just the opposite effect, for alcohol increases the absorption of capsaicin. Rice and tortillas absorb chile oils from the mouth, while sour cream, yogurt, and milk neutralize chile oils and cool the burn.”

Of course the 616 pages are not just about eating – there are also tons of baking and cooking tips. So much no-nonsense, science-based advice it’ll make you say, “Hmmm.” Though more than once I caught myself saying, “Yum!” as I read this book.


The Culinarian, A Kitchen Desk Reference by Barbara Ann Kipfer (Wiley: 2011) is available locally from Books & Books in Westhampton Beach (re-opening February 11) and online.

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