There are ingredients, and then there are Ingredients. An ingredient is a tomato, a tortilla, or some tarragon. An Ingredient (with a capital “I”) is a fundamental building block or recurring theme that works behind the scenes in everything we cook. There are millions of ingredients, but only eight Ingredients: Water, Sugars, Carbs, Lipids, Proteins, Minerals, Gases, and Heat.

Each Ingredient has its own personality, a set of things it does or doesn’t do. Ever been blown away by a wonderfully fragrant dish? From soup and mashed potatoes to French toast and barbecue, lipids act like glue to stick aromas to your food. Is a batter too thin or sauce not clinging correctly? The best bets for thickening any liquid are carbs and proteins, which we can find anywhere from a bag of flour to a roasted garlic clove or a piece of braised meat. This book teaches you the personalities of the Ingredients, where to find them, and how to put them to work.

Ingredient isn’t a book of recipes, nor is it a definitive treatise on the science of the kitchen. It’s an illustrated guide to visualizing and controlling food’s invisible moving parts, regardless of your skill level or how you like to cook.

Ingredient is a book I wish I had as a young cook, one of those resources that I believe will help not only the new generation of chefs for years to come, but also any home cook who picks it up. This is a remarkable book, approachably written, with a wealth of knowledge that anyone who enjoys food or cooking can learn from.
— Daniel Humm
Ingredient is a highly elevated cheat sheet for any avid cook or food geek. Essential for any serious kitchen, a direct and fascinating guide to the science of food.
— Padma Lakshmi
I’ve read a lot of books about food, but I’ve never seen one like Ingredient. Bouzari shows us how understanding the eight essential Ingredients that make up food gives us insight into not only how to cook, but why things behave the way they do in the kitchen. It’s a reference guide disguised as a comic book that is not only engaging to read, but eminently useful. You can’t turn more than two pages without discovering something new or being reminded of a concept that is the key to solving a kitchen problem you’ve been having.
— J. Kenji López-Alt
One of the biggest new cookbooks of 2016.
— Eater
The new accessible guide to finding out what really happens behind the scenes when you cook.
— Fine Dining Lovers
[A] charming new primer on the science of food and cooking. Metaphor is a powerful mnemonic device, and Bouzari’s animated style vividly dramatizes processes that may be familiar to us, but whose inner logics remain obscure.
— Popular Science

Photos: Jason Jaacks | Illustrations: Jeff Delierre