Sight Smell Touch Taste Sound: A New Way to Cook, by Sybil Kapoor, is a book that truly does awaken all the senses, and perhaps encourages both the home cook and their lucky diners to appreciate food in a more all-encompassing fashion.
How does that song go? ‘New York, New York, So Good They Named It Twice’? Well, this book is perhaps a paper version and runs ‘…So Good I Bought it Twice’. Sight Smell Touch Taste Sound by the talented Sybil Kapoor functions on two very distinct levels and they would both have worked admirably were they two volumes devoted to the two separate topics – senses, and cooking.
Ms Kapoor’s unique approach, and well-defined within these pages, is that of explaining how we enjoy food, or at least how we could. Have you ever mused on those unfortunates who are quite content to eat the same meal every day? Likely a burger, fries and a carbonated drink.
There is nothing intrinsically wrong with that meal if it is consumed rarely. It looks inviting, for burger aficionados at least. The smell of frying onions is mouth-watering. A soft pillowy bun heightens the diner’s anticipation. The sound of crunchy fries is evocative of casual good times. All those sensations are there even with this humble meal, so just think of the endless possibilities with a more thoughtful menu. Sybil reflects, and suggests combinations that will open minds as well as fridges, store cupboards, and a good few bottles, too!
But then there are the wonderful recipes. If I was compiling my own recipe book, then there would be much that I would shamelessly steal from Ms Kapoor. I adore Indian food. I have a passion for Japanese Sake. Chinese food puts in an appearance every week chez nous.
Saffron and Cinnamon Bread and Butter Pudding
Do I have favourite recipes from Sight Smell Touch Taste Sound? Yes, and too many to conveniently list. Saffron and Cinnamon Bread and Butter Pudding, with its light souffléd centre and creamy custard and that comforting aroma of spice, is the kind of dish you’d make if you’re expecting prospective house-buyers. I must try Chilli Marmalade, a striking departure from the usual preserve.
I am studying Spirits at the moment, so the Sticky Spiced Lemon Gin Cake got my attention immediately. This will become ubiquitous for afternoon tea, and even dessert for dinner parties, with perhaps a spoon or two of crème fraîche on the side. And a Mint Julep is the best Bourbon-based cocktail ever. The mint sprigs as garnish are not just there as decoration – their minty fresh aromas are an indispensable part of the traditional Julep experience.
All my favourite cuisines are here, and perhaps Sybil Kapoor gives hints as to why exactly I love these foods, with their sensual impact. A home chef will appreciate the recipes and a professional might feel inspired to create new delicious, and perhaps tactile, combinations. The broad recipe collection is bound to make this a popular cookbook.
The wonderfully textured cover of Sight Smell Touch Taste Sound will soon be splashed with dashes of soy sauce and rhubarb juice and be smeared with miso and sweet potato. But isn’t that the sign of a much-appreciated cookbook?
Sight Smell Touch Taste Sound: A New Way to Cook
Author: Sybil Kapoor
Published by: Pavilion Books