Niki Segnit used to follow recipes to the letter, even when she'd made a dish a dozen times. But as she tested the combinations that informed The Flavor Thesaurus, she detected the basic rubrics that underpinned most recipes. Lateral Cooking offers these formulas, which, once readers are familiar with them, will prove infinitely adaptable.
The book is divided into twelve chapters, each covering a basic culinary category, such as "Bread," "Stock, Soup & Stew," or "Sauce." The recipes in each chapter are arranged on a continuum, passing from one to another with just a tweak or two to the method or ingredients. Once you've got the hang of flatbreads, for instance, then its neighboring dishes (crackers, soda bread, scones) will involve the easiest and most intuitive adjustments. The result is greater creativity in the kitchen: Lateral Cooking encourages improvisation, resourcefulness, and, ultimately, the knowledge and confidence to cook by heart.
Lateral Cooking is a practical book, but, like The Flavor Thesaurus, it's also a highly enjoyable read, drawing widely on culinary science, history, ideas from professional kitchens, observations by renowned food writers, and Segnit's personal recollections. Entertaining, opinionated, and inspirational, with a handsome three-color design, Lateral Cooking will have you torn between donning your apron and settling back in a comfortable chair.