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.