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Book cover of Aroma: The Magic of Essential Oils in Foods and Fragrance

Aroma: The Magic of Essential Oils in Foods and Fragrance

by Daniel Patterson, Mandy Aftel

Publisher: Workman Publishing Company, Inc.
Pages: 216
ISBN: 9781579652647

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Synopsis of Aroma: The Magic of Essential Oils in Foods and Fragrance

A New Way of Thinking About Food and Fragrance

Turn a brilliant natural perfumer loose in a chef's kitchen and you get vanilla perfume, saffron, ginger, and blood orange bath salts, and a cucumber mist. Turn a brilliant chef loose in a perfumer's pantry and you get rose-infused steamed bass, peach-jasmine sorbet, and scores of other startlingly original recipes using floral and herbal aromas.

Aroma permeates every cuisine, from ancient to modern, in every culture and at every level, but what this pioneering cookbook, by chef Daniel Patterson and perfumer Mandy Aftel, makes evident is that aroma, not taste, is our primary experience of food. Without aroma there is no flavor. By focusing on aroma, we intensify all aspects of food, and immeasurably enhance the experience of cooking and eating.

While many cookbooks include some discussion of the use of aromatics in cooking, none concentrates on this essential link, where a few drops of a fragrant essence can make commonplace dishes memorable and good dishes great. Both the food recipes and the fragrance recipes in Aroma are powerfully alluring, whether it's a coffee cologne or an orange flower custard. Cumin vinaigrettes and lemon verbena mists waft off the page. Lavender makes a grilled steak sizzle while white truffle makes for a haunting perfume.

Explicit information on ingredients, equipment, and terms and techniques complements one fragrance recipe and three food recipes for nearly thirty ingredients—lime, mint, green tea, black pepper, vanilla, and ginger, among others. This seminal work will open your senses to the aromatic, even sensual, dimension of food and fragrance.

Publishers Weekly

This rather precious cookbook contains two kinds of recipes: those for food, and those for making fragrances, with the latter occasionally used in the former as well as to perfume the body. With a few exceptions, such as White Truffle and Blood Orange Solid Perfume, these sound lovely. However, preparation of both types is complex. The use of essential oils in place of the actual materials in food seems unnecessarily complicated (e.g., the suggestion that readers "add a few drops of cinnamon essential oil to melted butter, then use that butter to make cinnamon toast"). Fragrances are equally elaborate: Coffee Cologne Spray requires four absolutes and six essential oils. The food itself is creative American, like Lavender Roasted Chicken and Mint-Infused Asparagus Soup. Patterson, of San Francisco's Frisson, opening in May 2004, writes competent recipes, although some call for expensive ingredients. Aftel, who creates custom scents, easily guides readers through production of such items as Ginger and Juniper Body Oil, although her list of equipment is daunting. The real question is whether consumers want to see recipes for Coriander and Grapefruit Body Oil and Crab Salad with Coriander Vinaigrette on the same page. Photos. (Sept.) Forecast: It remains to be seen whether book buyers will warm to the combination of perfume and food. An 11-city tour should help the authors introduce their admittedly unique concept and make it more user-friendly. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

About the Author, Daniel Patterson

Mandy Aftel, owner of Aftelier Perfumes, custom designs one-of-a-kind blends for individuals and formulates fragrances for private labels. Her book on natural perfume, Essence and Alchemy, won the Sense of Smell Institute's 2001 Richard B. Solomon Award.

Daniel Patterson opened a new restaurant in San Francisco in June 2004. Named one of America's Best New Chefs by Food & Wine, Patterson previously was chef-owner of Elisabeth Daniel (Best New Restaurant in the United States--James Beard Foundation) and Babette's. He lives in San Francisco.

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