Lateral Cooking: One Dish Leads to Another
By Niki Segnit
A groundbreaking handbook--the "method" companion to its critically acclaimed predecessor, The Flavor Thesaurus--with a foreword by Yotam Ottolenghi.
Niki Segnit used to follow recipes to the letter, even when she'd made a dish a dozen times. But as she tested the combinations that informed The Flavor Thesaurus, she detected the basic rubrics that underpinned most recipes. Lateral Cooking offers these formulas, which, once readers are familiar with them, will prove infinitely adaptable.
The book is divided into twelve chapters, each covering a basic culinary category, such as "Bread," "Stock, Soup & Stew," or "Sauce." The recipes in each chapter are arranged on a continuum, passing from one to another with just a tweak or two to the method or ingredients. Once you've got the hang of flatbreads, for instance, then its neighboring dishes (crackers, soda bread, scones) will involve the easiest and most intuitive adjustments. The result is greater creativity in the kitchen: Lateral Cooking encourages improvisation, resourcefulness, and, ultimately, the knowledge and confidence to cook by heart.
Lateral Cooking is a practical book, but, like The Flavor Thesaurus, it's also a highly enjoyable read, drawing widely on culinary science, history, ideas from professional kitchens, observations by renowned food writers, and Segnit's personal recollections. Entertaining, opinionated, and inspirational, with a handsome three-color design, Lateral Cooking will have you torn between donning your apron and settling back in a comfortable chair.
"Pure, informative delight . . . Segnit not only covers continents but also makes deft, slyly humorous work of connecting their dishes. Each chapter, or 'continuum,' offers basic recipes for starting points, followed by a 'leeway' section for adaptations and 'flavors and variations' to spark creativity . . . Segnit effortlessly glides readers up and over her culinary Everest. They descend as confident, improvisational cooks, with a base knowledge of the relationship between dishes that allows them to adapt recipes from other books, make bread from memory and let the ingredients lead. 'It’s a question of confidence, ultimately,' she writes. 'Nail the daily loaf and brioche feels like less of a challenge.' Even if nailing the daily loaf isn’t at the top of your list of 2020 resolutions, reading the work of this culinary powerhouse most certainly should be." - New York Times Book Review
“It is hard to convey just what a staggering achievement Lateral Cooking is . . . Despite its encyclopedic reach, it is conversational in tone and beautifully written. I can lose myself in it any time, from any page, and you could cook from it over a whole lifetime, and still be learning.” ―Nigella Lawson
"A delightful resource… Anyone looking to feel generally inspired by the concept of cooking while giving oneself a rest from the usual format of recipe and photo should check it out." - Alison Roman, T: NEW YORK TIMES STYLE MAGAZINE