How to Taste by Becky Selengut

I love cookbooks and I find myself making some hard choices as I go about the arduous task of what stays and what goes in my latest purge. We've moved to our new home and I am trying to house all my cookbooks in my office as well as two book cases in our family room area. Some cookbooks are going to the donation pile but books that focus on the art of cooking whether it be seasoning, using acid and heat or knife skills are finding a place on a shelf. We need more books that teach us how to cook instead of how to follow a recipe. 

Today's promotion is about one such book, How to Taste: The Curious Cook's Handbook to Seasoning and Balance, from Umami to Acid and Beyond with Recipes! by Becky Selengut.


Becky is a Seattle chef who has written several cookbooks including Good Fish (recently updated and expanded) and Shroom: Mind-Bendingly Good Recipes for Cultivated and Wild Mushrooms. I tested a recipe for the latter title and as well as one for How to Taste. Becky's recipes never disappoint, but even better than her recipes, her knowledge shared is invaluable. 

Here, she outlines the underlying principles of taste, and then takes a deep dive into salt, acid, bitter, sweet, fat, umami, bite (heat), aromatics, and texture. You'll find out how temperature impacts your enjoyment of the dishes you make as does color, alcohol, and more. This goes beyond telling home cooks what ingredients go well together or explaining cooking ratios. You'll learn how to adjust a dish that's too salty or too acidic and how to determine when something might be lacking. It also includes two dozen recipes and simple kitchen experiments to prove her theories. 

Each recipe and experiment highlights the chapter's main lesson. How to Taste will ultimately help you feel confident about why and how various components of a dish are used to create balance, harmony, and deliciousness. This is why I love this book - it will teach us to be more intuitive cooks so we can use cookbooks not as strict recipe outlines but as inspiration to grow our own creativity. 

Special thanks to Sasquatch for providing three copies of How to Taste in our giveaway below. 

 

The publisher is offering three copies of this book to EYB Members in the US. One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won't be counted. For more information on this process, please see our step-by-step help post. Be sure to check your spam filters to receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on September 10th, 2018.

60 Comments

  • circ2000  on  7/30/2018 at 5:41 PM

    Roasted Chicken Stock

  • his4ever247  on  7/30/2018 at 5:45 PM

    I would love to try the Italian Salsa Verde

  • Laura64  on  7/30/2018 at 6:11 PM

    Gummy’s Brisket - always looking for a new brisket recipe

  • lauriesk  on  7/30/2018 at 8:21 PM

    I would try Cinnamon and ginger-scented lamb stew with tamarind sauce and saffron and turmeric rice pilaf

  • thecharlah  on  7/30/2018 at 8:32 PM

    Texturally superior BLAT

  • LSanders  on  7/30/2018 at 8:53 PM

    Gummy's brisket!

  • rchesser  on  7/30/2018 at 10:15 PM

    Sweet potato soup with chile and lemongrass.

  • JRumi  on  7/31/2018 at 5:55 AM

    Coffee and chocolate braised short ribs

  • bakeswithlove2369  on  7/31/2018 at 7:42 AM

    salmon miso. or the coffee and chocolate braised short ribs..I use both in my chili...would love it on short ribs

  • vickster  on  7/31/2018 at 8:49 AM

    Honey, Rhubarb and Thyme Jam

  • sarahawker  on  7/31/2018 at 8:54 AM

    Cinnamon and ginger-scented lamb stew with tamarind sauce and saffron and turmeric rice pilaf

  • mduncan  on  7/31/2018 at 9:46 AM

    Italian salsa verde

  • TinaMarie  on  7/31/2018 at 10:13 AM

    Anything with cinnamon works!

  • sgump  on  7/31/2018 at 11:25 AM

    I imagine preparing the cinnamon and ginger-scented lamb stew with tamarind sauce and saffron and turmeric rice pilaf is a rather time-consuming process . . . but it sound delightful!

  • Siegal  on  7/31/2018 at 11:55 AM

    I would like to make creamy polenta a

  • stjones  on  7/31/2018 at 12:37 PM

    Texturally superior BLAT or the spicy carrot salad.

  • beetangsurat  on  7/31/2018 at 4:28 PM

    Honey, rhubarb, and thyme jam! I've always wanted to try making jam at home but the process seems too intimidating.

  • leilx  on  8/1/2018 at 1:35 AM

    Cocoa nib and chocolate cookies. Also coffee and chocolate braised short ribs. Yum!

  • Sheli  on  8/1/2018 at 1:57 PM

    Cinnamon and ginger-scented lamb stew with tamarind sauce and saffron and turmeric rice pilaf!

  • ravensfan  on  8/1/2018 at 8:38 PM

    Honey, rhubarb, and thyme jam

  • lgroom  on  8/3/2018 at 12:51 AM

    Texturally superior BLAT

  • t.t  on  8/3/2018 at 11:36 PM

    Coffee and chocolate-braised short ribs

  • banba1  on  8/4/2018 at 7:44 PM

    Well, first recipe caught me off the bat! Spiced carrot salad!

  • MiMi60  on  8/5/2018 at 11:53 AM

    Gummy’s Brisket

  • RSW  on  8/5/2018 at 12:09 PM

    Salmon with miso vinaigrette and sesame-roasted vegetables

  • tennyogirl  on  8/5/2018 at 11:34 PM

    spiced carrot salad

  • kmn4  on  8/6/2018 at 2:49 PM

    Cinnamon and ginger-scented lamb stew with tamarind sauce and saffron and turmeric rice pilaf

  • jmay42066  on  8/7/2018 at 4:07 PM

    Gummy’s Brisket

  • demomcook  on  8/7/2018 at 11:58 PM

    Coffee and chocolate-braised short ribs

  • Laura1  on  8/10/2018 at 6:02 PM

    creamy polenta

  • Dannausc  on  8/10/2018 at 7:15 PM

    Horseradish cream

  • debbiehb  on  8/11/2018 at 6:09 AM

    Tomato salad with mustard caviar and tomato-cucumber ice

  • rachael_mc  on  8/11/2018 at 10:24 AM

    Gummy's brisket

  • heyjude  on  8/12/2018 at 3:35 AM

    Pasta alla Speranza

  • EmilyR  on  8/20/2018 at 7:01 PM

    Cacao nib and chocolate chunk cookies

  • ChefDave999  on  8/23/2018 at 1:35 PM

    Sweet potato soup with chile and lemongrass (page 105)

  • jenniebakes  on  8/24/2018 at 6:34 PM

    Sweet potato soup with chile and lemongrass - sounds amazing!

  • Julia  on  8/24/2018 at 9:57 PM

    Spiced carrot salad

  • Maaseelulu  on  8/24/2018 at 10:08 PM

    Sweet potato soup with chile and lemongrass. Yum!

  • relita  on  8/25/2018 at 12:20 AM

    I love to bake so I'll be trying the Red Velvet Madeleines from The Cookie Book ASAP!

  • mombaker247  on  8/25/2018 at 9:18 AM

    Coffee and chocolate short ribs to sample at farm market

  • fbrunetti  on  8/25/2018 at 10:04 AM

    Pasta alla Speranza

  • tararr  on  8/25/2018 at 2:34 PM

    OMG, the Lamb stew description/name sounds yummy!

  • sequoia55  on  8/26/2018 at 7:40 PM

    Gummy’s Brisket

  • MamaEnki  on  8/27/2018 at 1:21 PM

    Coffee and chocolate braised short ribs

  • Sfgordon  on  8/28/2018 at 5:24 PM

    Sri Lankan spiced rack of lamb with coconut milk sauce

  • kasiak  on  8/29/2018 at 5:17 PM

    Sweet potato soup with chile and lemongrass

  • Lynled  on  8/29/2018 at 5:48 PM

    I'd love the recipe for Salmon with miso vinaigrette and sesame-roasted vegetables

  • zaava  on  8/29/2018 at 8:11 PM

    spiced carrot salad

  • DJCross  on  8/30/2018 at 10:28 AM

    Sweet Potato Soup

  • Sharklovers  on  8/30/2018 at 11:19 AM

    Classic Manhattan

  • benjamincrow  on  9/1/2018 at 10:50 AM

    Coffee and chocolate braised short ribs.

  • AwoodlandPrince  on  9/1/2018 at 2:18 PM

    The spiced carrot salad sounds amazing!

  • orchidlady01  on  9/2/2018 at 3:44 AM

    Cinnamon and ginger-scented lamb stew with tamarind sauce and saffron and turmeric rice pilaf

  • jemans  on  9/2/2018 at 5:48 PM

    the cinnamon and ginger lamb stew sounds right up my alley!

  • hungryinhouston  on  9/2/2018 at 10:53 PM

    Tomato salad with Mustard Caviar and Tomato-Cucumber Ice

  • kkohle  on  9/3/2018 at 3:01 PM

    Coffee and chocolate braised short ribs

  • starzine  on  9/4/2018 at 7:35 PM

    I would like to try the Roasted chicken stock.

  • auntietina  on  9/7/2018 at 12:53 AM

    Gummy's Brisket.

  • choppergirl  on  9/7/2018 at 8:00 PM

    Fiery roasted Thai chile chicken wings

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