The Illustrated Cook’s Book of Ingredients

Various contributors

This hefty book features detailed information—color photographs, descriptions, flavor pairings, recipes, where to obtain, how to grow and store, and more—for more than 2,500 ingredients from around the world. The ingredients include seafood, various cuts of meat, vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, herbs and spices, cheeses, oils, vinegars, sugars and noodles. If you’re wondering how to cook skate (fishy cousin to the ray) or hare, this book offers a recipe for Skate with Beurre Noir and Capers, and one for Jugged Hare, a traditional stew in both England and France. Other less unusual recipes and pieces of information are offered, such as a Gruyere-and-mustard-fortified baked macaroni and cheese, and detailed cooking charts for different types of meat, including venison. The book shies away from virtually nothing, from mundane—apples (and a simple recipe for applesauce) and potatoes—to more odd foods, such as pigeon, horse (which is eaten in some parts of Europe, Asia and North America), rambutan (a relative of the lychee), mammee apples and black-headed gull eggs. Nice coverage of sausages, peppers, dried fruits and meats, and mushrooms, too.