I was recently given the opportunity to review Substituting Ingredients: The A to Z Kitchen Reference by Becky Sue Epstein. This is the 4th edition of this handy little guide that would be a welcome addition to any kitchen, from the novice cook to expert chef. Not only does the book give you substitutions for a plethora of ingredients, it also contains:
Conversions from weight measurements to volume (nice to know how many apples = 1 cup, for example)
Simple recipes for condiments, sauces, and spice mixtures
Green, non-toxic household cleaning solutions
Tips to fix too much or too little of an ingredient
And it all comes in a handy little book, that easily fits in the palm of your hand. Even if your kitchen is already packed full of recipes, gadgets, and ingredients, you’ll be able to find room for this.
After giving the book a read through, I’ve compiled my list of likes and dislikes.
- Very comprehensive list of ingredients, including some I hadn’t even heard of – and I consider myself a pretty well versed cook.
- The condiment/spice mixture/sauce recipes. Perfect when you don’t want to buy a whole jar of something you might only use once.
- Herb & Spice Guide – a section dedicated to substitutes for various herbs & spices. Awesome when you don’t want to add another jar to your collection.
- The green cleaning solutions.
- Some of the substitutions seem a little too obvious – like how you can sub in any bean or berry for what a recipe calls for. Duh?
- Too many listings that then refer you to the master listing. I’d rather see less of that, and just have a disclaimer that says to look up the generic ingredient (winter squashes come to mind).
Overall though, I think this book would make a welcome addition to anyone’s kitchen, because we’ve all had recipes that we don’t have all the ingredients for, and have to decide whether to spend the money on the ingredients or not make the recipe.
And now, one of my readers will also get the chance to own a copy of this book!
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The contest is open to all readers, and entries will be accepted until 11:59 pm Monday, June 21, 2010. The winner will be announced Tuesday, June 22. Good luck!