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Review: Acid Trip: Travels in the World of Vinegar ~ by Michael Harlan Turkell

320 pages, paperback £21.99 / $19.89 
320 pages, Kindle £11.86 / $15.46
Abrams (1 Aug. 2017)


In Acid Trip, Michael Harlan Turkell takes readers on a fascinating journey through the world of vinegar. An avid maker of vinegars at home, Turkell traveled throughout North America, France, Italy, Austria, and Japan to learn about vinegar-making practices in places where the art has evolved over centuries. This richly narrated cookbook includes recipes from leading chefs including Daniel Boulud, Barbara Lynch, Michael Anthony, April Bloomfield, Massimo Bottura, Sean Brock, and many others. Dishes range from simple to sophisticated and include Fried Eggs with a Spoonful of Vinegar, Sweet & Sour Peppers, Balsamic Barbecued Ribs, Poulet au Vinaigre, Tomato Tarragon Shrub, and even Vinegar Pie. Turkell also details methods for making your own vinegars with bases as varied as wine, rice, apple cider, and honey. Featuring lush color photographs by the author, Acid Trip is a captivating story of an obsession and an indispensable reference for any food lover who aspires to make and cook with the best ingredients.

The review:

Those who know me in real life know that my kitchen is one of my favourite places in the house. And they also know that in my kitchen there is a shelf dedicated exclusively to… vinegar. Balsamic vinegar, cider vinegar, perry vinegar, white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, malt vinegar, berry vinegars, fruit vinegars — you name it, it’s probably there. One of the things I did not have until now is a book about vinegar, and where all the recipes have vinegar as an ingredient. Until now.

Cooking with vinegar is nothing new to me. From childhood, I got used to seeing vinegar used in food not just as condiment (my mother’s potato salad would be nothing without a good couple of spoonfuls of my father’s red wine vinegar), but also as an ingredient in the most varied recipes, from meat to fish to veg, and of course in food preserving.

To someone as partial to vinegar as I am, this book was an absolute find. It taught me, for instance, things I never knew about its many types, the differences between them, and how the way each is made impacts its flavour and scent notes as well as its acidity (which I thought was a function exclusively of the sugar/alcohol content in the wine or other substrate). And I dare say that it’s increased my cooking repertoire by quite a few recipes that I can see quickly becoming staples in the Light household. All in all, a fab and valuable addition to my cookery book collection.

My copy of this book was kindly sent to me by the publishers, Abrams, in return for a honest review.

Verdict: full of many an interesting fact and very, very delicious recipes
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥
Shelf: Cookery Books, Food & Wine


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