The Connoisseur’s Guide to Oils and Vinegars by Kathryn Hawkins

The Connoisseur's Guide to Oils and Vinegars The Connoisseur’s Guide to Oils and Vinegars could be a timely addition to your book collection. Oil and vinegar are two staple ingredients that are indispensable to practically every cuisine. The importance of oil is mythical to the extent that some religions still incorporate oil into ceremony and celebrations. Vinegar is an almost miraculous by-product of the wine industry, acting as a food preservative… and an amazing rust remover!

This is another in that lovely series from Apple Press. Kathryn Hawkins has penned several food-related books including The Connoisseur’s Guide to Herbs and Spices which I have already reviewed. Nick Wright is responsible for the lovely evocative photographs. This book follows the usual The Connoisseur’s Guide format of lots of information presented in an interesting and accessible style.

There is an amazing variety of edible oils. You might have coconut oil or palm oil as your oil of choice if you live in either South-east Asia or Africa. Vegetable or corn oil is common in Europe although olive oil is now popular. Long gone are the days of tiny bottles of olive oil only being available from the local chemist shop. The purchaser would be treated sympathetically as they were obviously suffering from ear ache.

Vinegar is an ancient product that has found new favour in the last few years. Balsamic is one of the more celebrated vinegars but there are others that have rich and interesting characteristics, including Alan Coxon’s Historic Vinegars. Vinegars fall into two basic groups, those bought for food preservation and those bought for flavour. A sprinkle of Malt might be just right for your cod and chips but a lighter wine vinegar is probably more fitting for a dressing over your warm quail egg salad.

The Connoisseur’s Guide to Oils and Vinegars is a comprehensive directory with what seems like every imaginable oil and vinegar. They are not just listed but each entry has an extensive description and an At-a-Glance summary. There is everything here from history to cooking temperatures, and a section on Pairing Oils and Vinegars. You’ll make some fascinating and delicious new salad dressings.

It’s not surprising that I enjoyed The Connoisseur’s Guide to Oils and Vinegars. This makes a great gift for any food lover be they carnivore or vegetarian. A well researched and well presented volume.

The Connoisseur’s Guide to Oils and Vinegars
Author: Kathryn Hawkins
Published by: Apple Press
Price: £12.99
ISBN 978-1-84543-272-0


Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018


See more books by Kathryn Hawkins here