Although we all may initially flinch at the idea of bitterness, it plays a dramatically important role in the flavor of an array of popular foods, from coffee and chocolate to beers and greens. McLagan, who is never afraid to tackle overlooked subjects and has written some of our most beloved and popular books in the past decade (Fat, Bones, Odd Bits) doesn’t shy away from the full implications of bitterness: her chapters have such titles as “Pungently Bitter,” “Subtly Bitter” and “Surprisingly Bitter.” She’s intent on showing us how flavor becomes much more intense with the thoughtful use of bitter ingredients, and her examples are fascinating and often very sexy. An adventurous cook will see the immediate appeal of, and possibilities in, dishes such as radicchio pie, pork chops in coffee-black currant sauce, and a salad of warm cardoons and potatoes. If you want to enrich your culinary repertoire, this is a very strong choice.
Color photographs throughout. Cloth.