The New Food Lover's Companion (Fourth Edition, 2007) is written by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst, published by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.
Sharon is an award-winning author and is known as a "culinary powerhouse" in the world of food. She has written 17 books and is well respected and referenced to on the web and TV shows such as, Epicurious, Food Network, Recipes.com, the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) and the TV quiz show Jeopardy, just to name a few. Ron is a well-respected wine connoisseur and food lover. Together, Sharon and Ron are often called "the dynamic duo of food and drink". This book proves it!
If you are a foodie, a novice cook, a culinary student or a home cook, this book is the best cooking guide and reference library you will own, in respect of anything to do with food and its preparation. Many times when I was teaching myself to use different cooking techniques for certain ingredients, I sometimes had a doubt or question about something so I would open The New Food Lover's Companion and my answer would be right there.
For example, if you love to cook with herbs and want to know the best one that would go with a specific ingredient, open your Food Lover's Companion to the herbs entry. First, it will show you how to pronounce the word and then go on to explain the differences between dried and fresh herbs and how to store both. Then it will direct you to a page on seasoning suggestions. In the same paragraph there will be herbs listed in small capital letters - this means there is an entry for each capitalized word in the book. This book has helped me to be a better, creative cook. It teaches about ingredients, cooking techniques, cooking temperatures, measurement equivalents, oils, spices, meat, seafood, wine - I could go on and on!
The authors Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst really have the reader and cook in mind when they write their books. Everything in the book is cross-referenced and alphabetized which makes it a delight to use. The appendix has sections on food labels, British and American cooking terms, meat charts, a directory on food additives and more. The bibliography is 12 pages long.
I have been in possession of this 2007, 4th edition copy of The New Food Lover's Companion for 5 years. I use it at home, in the car or on my lunch break at work. I have gained so much knowledge by owning this book and I would never be without a copy of it!
The book measures 5 x 7 inches and is 829 pages long and the thickness is 1 1/2 inches. It is a chunky book, small enough to slip into your bag or glove compartment in the car, but a little too bulky for a pocket (unless the pocket is large). The text is adequately readable and it is considered a paperback. The book is laminated and after 5 years of use, along with a lot of dog-eared pages, the laminate is just starting to peel off. My only wish for this book would be to have a slightly harder outside cover which was laminated.
You can check out the latest version of this book right here.
I purchased the fourth edition of this book at my place of work 5 years ago with my own funds.