by David Joachim
Robert Rose Inc., 2010, $24.95
You're right in the middle of whipping up your famous buttermilk pancakes, only to realize you're fresh out of buttermilk. Sound familiar? Or what if you've found the perfect recipe, only to discover that you don't have the special pans the recipe calls for.
The Food Substitutions Bible, Second Edition, could be a valuable kitchen resource, a go-to guide for situations like these.
Designed like a dictionary in alphabetical order, the guide instantly helps chefs and production personnel find substitutes for hundreds of essential recipe items.
The substitution for buttermilk offers such options as adding a little lemon juice or vinegar to regluar milk. There are entries on vegetables (lima beans are best switched out with peas or edamame); spices (did you know ancho chile powder can stand in for paprika?); and much more.
Readers can look up just about any ingredient, literally “from A1 to Zwiebeck” and find a safe substitution. The book also offers equipment and technique solutions, along with emergency substitutions, time-saving substitutions, healthy substitutions, alternatives for hard-to-find ingredients, and ideas for varying the flavor of a dish in many different ways. With charts and tables to help the busy chef pick coffee, calculate container size equivalents and figure out the alcohol retention in cooking, the book can easily earn a place on the kitchen cookbook shelf.
All in all, it's a good resource for experimentation and emergencies alike.