Real Flavours: The Handbook of Gourmet and Deli Ingredients by Glynn Christian ****
This is the perfect book for any foodie who’s ever spent hours puzzling over unfamiliar ingredients in their local delicatessen or ethnic food shop. Glynn Christian, originally from New Zealand, has been a food writer and broadcaster in England for many years, and as a result, has a rare international perspective. His breadth of experience also includes setting up the legendary Mr Christian’s Delicatessen in London’s Notting Hill in the 1970s.
With a cover quote from Nigel Slater – “one of the only ten books you need” (I’d be interested in finding out the names of the other nine!) – Real Flavours does live up to its subtitle: The Handbook of Gourmet and Deli Ingredients. From possum to pine nut oil, goulash to grockle (an obscure sea vegetable), this book has information on all the foodstuffs you could imagine – and plenty that you haven’t even come across yet. You could comfortably spend a few weeks wandering around the riches of the herbs, spices and flavourings chapter.
But be careful. You may open Real Flavours to look up a particular item but soon find yourself sucked in by this greedy gourmet’s no-nonsense, opinionated and entertaining writing. An essential addition to every epicurean’s kitchen.
Real Flavours: The Handbook of Gourmet and Deli Ingredients by Glynn Christian is published by Grub Street Publishing.