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Substituting Ingredients, 4E: The A to Z Kitchen Reference

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Substituting Ingredients, 4E: The A to Z Kitchen Reference [Paperback]

Becky Sue Epstein
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 1, 2010 Substituting Ingredients

Everyone has been in this predicament: you're at home, with no time (or desire) for a trip to the store-but the recipe you're using calls for an ingredient you don't happen to have on hand. With this book, you'll have a solution: substitute. In Substituting Ingredients, author Becky Sue Epstein has collected more than 1,000 easy-to-find, healthy, and cheap substitutions.

You'll find:

  • Substitutions for difficult to find items and common items you may not have on hand
  • Green, nontoxic household cleaner solutions
  • Less expensive ingredient options
  • The best ways to measure fruits and vegetables for recipes
  • Simple recipes for condiments, sauces, marinades, and spice mixtures
  • Strategies to remedy too much or too little of an ingredient

"With this paperback on the shelf there's no need for mad, midrecipe dashes to the grocery store."
-Bon Appétit

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Substituting Ingredients, 4E: The A to Z Kitchen Reference + The Food Substitutions Bible: More Than 6,500 Substitutions for Ingredients, Equipment and Techniques
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Editorial Reviews


We've only had it a few days and already love it. It's clear and concise, easy to use, and so far it includes everything we've ever wanted to find a substitution for. Wish we had this book years ago (Nibbles of Tidbits 2010-06-03)

This astonishingly comprehensive 2010 edition covers all manner of kitchen swaps, which will see you through kitchen crises all year long.

Some of the listings are for recipes, including one of my favorites, zaatar. Others are for straight substitutions, such as using anchovy and soy sauce for nam pla. Still others are not quite direct swaps, but as if the understudy is stepping in for the star: perhaps different, but the show-and dinner-will go on.

(NY Daily News 2010-06-03)

In summary, I love the concept of this book as it remind people to have fun in the kitchen and to use what you have and not panic. Also, when you substitute an ingredient, you often end up with new recipes and new flavor profiles

I think this book would be an excellent resource to have in your kitchen at home and would be a great (and affordable) gift. (Savor the Thyme 2010-06-03)

Becky Sue Epstein is a master of detail. She is respectful of tradition and environmentally sensitive remedies for the kitchen and home. Substituting Ingredients: The A to Z Kitchen Reference is a convenient tool and a good read, especially if you eat, drink, cook, or clean! (Wine Fairy 2010-06-04)

I find myself referring to it quite often and I'm sure you will to, [and] this is a kitchen must have if you do any amount of cooking or baking at home. (Lola's Diner 2010-06-10)

This book is a wealth of knowledge. Perfect for the thrifty or dare I say lazy (just me ladies, I can say that about me) cook. I was intrigued and saw that there were tons of great substitutions for all kinds of things. Saffron! Have you ever hmmmed and hawwed over a fourteen dollar bottle of saffron? Well, tumeric or marigold petals for color will do just fine in a pinch. (Ladies Sewing Circle 2010-06-10)

FruHo loves this, because it gets at one of the central philosophies of her life - the idea that you should use what you have. Having at one point been the kind of cook who would run out two or three times in the process of preparing a recipe, TFH really digs that you can just flip through and find a substitution. Epstein also lists when you cam omit an ingredient, like when a recipe calls for less than one tablespoon of orange zest or less than half a cup of fiddlehead ferns. Also, the book is a petite paperback, so it fits handily in your spice cabinet or drawer of utensils. (The Frugal Hostess 2010-06-10)

This book is handy and its small size makes it perfect to stash in the kitchen for quick use. (Lacy Matharu Southern Lace 2010-06-10)

This little book has tons of substitutions and information to use in everyday cooking. Not only that but it is in an easy-to-read and easy-to-use format. I have already found a home for this right in my spice cabinet (it has much more than just spices, but that spot just works for me). This book will help whenever you are out of one thing and need to substitute something else or even if you just don't want to spend the money on an expensive ingredient on a new recipe. The book also gives some common item weight equivalents which I think are awesome!
(Robyn Wright Robyn's Online World 2010-06-10)

This little book is quite thorough and passed my spot tests for the accuracy of the advice. I'll have it near my phone/computer when I man the ChefsLine help line in the future. (Kevin Cooking For Two 2010-06-17)

I know most of you are trying to be more green in terms of cleaning product usage and she [Becky Sue] provides a number of quick and easy mixtures for cleaning bathrooms, cutting boards, drain cleaners & openers, pesticides for ants, and an oven cleaner... Not only will it help the environment, but it will also save me a ton of money on cleaning products! (Lindsay Edelman Love of Oats 2010-06-17)

Its basically the substituting bible. (Erica Sorkin Itzy's Kitchen 2010-06-17)

It truly is a great guide and also includes things you might not expect such as green household cleaners and budget-friendly ingredient guides. (Eating Bender 2010-06-17)

In this book Ms. Epstein takes substituting to a whole new level. It's more than a book to save you from the panic of missing an item in a recipe you're making. My kiddos would love her as a mom because instead of saying, "You don't like it? You get what you get and don't throw a fit!" (That's my Mom Trademark statement), Ms. Epstein instead says, "No problem, Substitute!" AND when my seventeen year old declares he can only eat the best of the best, which I may not be able to afford, this book allows me options...Substitute! (Mommy's Memorandum 2010-06-17)

Substituting Ingredients: The A to Z Kitchen Reference is a great help in the kitchen. It can save you time and money by letting you use things you have on hand, rather than going out and buying an ingredient that you may never even use again. (Fab and Delicious Food 2010-06-17)

Overall ...I think this book would make a welcome addition to anyone's kitchen, because we've all had recipes that we don't have all the ingredients for, and have to decide whether to spend the money on the ingredients or not make the recipe. (From French Fries to Flax Seeds 2010-06-17)

It's the kind of book a novice or intermediate cook would want on hand for quick reference and it would make a nice gift for anyone learning to cook. (Andrea Meyer Andrea's Recipes 2010-06-18)

this is a good go to easy reference book. Substituting Ingredients would make a great gift for the first time cook (Diana Cookerati 2010-06-19)

this handy little pocket-sized paperback by Becky Sue Epstein is a great reference book to keep in your kitchen, whether your developing recipes for your blog or just cooking for the family. (Alejandra Ramos Always Orders Dessert 2010-06-21)

[Substituting Ingredients] will help you find ingredients that are more affordable than the ones listed in a recipe, in case you happen to be on a budget. (Michelle Judd Taste As You Go 2010-06-24)

Do these substitutions work? Yes, I know they do because I've used them before. Epstein has added a few new ones, but I have no doubt that they will work because the old ones did and her new ones agree with what I've tried on my own.
(Making Things Stretch 2010-08-23)

I love this book and have referenced it many times already. Every household NEEDS his reference guide to save time, money, and 1/2 made recipes!

(Akron Ohio Moms 2011-01-10)

If you're going to have one book in your kitchen, have this one. It's a little paperback full of useful information. I've used it many times already as I found myself needing to figure out substitutions for certain ingredients. It is an easy book to use, totally practical, and very inexpensive.
(Kitchen Corners 2011-01-27)

About the Author

Becky Sue Epstein is an experienced editor, broadcaster and consultant in the fields of wine, spirits, food and travel.  In addition to writing books -- most recently The American Lighthouse Cookbook -- she is also an editor at Intermezzo Magazine, The Tasting Panel and She travels frequently and has lived on the East and West Coasts of the US as well as in the UK, the Middle East and Europe.

Product Details

  • Series: Substituting Ingredients
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks; 4 edition (June 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402239246
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402239243
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,744 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

More amazing sipping-and-traveling went into BRANDY: A GLOBAL HISTORY. From Cognac and Armagnac in France to Jerez, Spain to Armenia and Georgia -- really! Then home for more research and writing, and sipping of course. The book is published in the fall, a great time to get started on your own brandy research...
CHAMPAGNE: A GLOBAL HISTORY. Wow, was that research tough. I had to sample all the sparkling wines in the world. (I wish!) Prosecco, Cava, Cap Classique too. Being a bit geeky, I loved the historical research, too. The hardest part about writing the book was packing it all in to this tiny tome -- with pictures!
The major update of my SUBSTITUTING INGREDIENTS book was published last year. In a way, I'm not surprised that this classic reference continues to be popular - I use it myself all the time. One of the reasons I wrote it is because I couldn't remember all this stuff when I'm cooking and baking, and I wanted to have it all in one place.
I discovered an amazing, worldwide community of avid lighthouse supporters while writing THE AMERICAN LIGHTHOUSE COOKBOOK (with Chef Ed Jackson). I also learned so much about American history as well as local foods from all the coasts of the United States. Still, the lighthouse fans continue to amaze me with their devotion to preservation, lore, and all things lighthouse.

twitter @BeckySueEpstein website

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
50 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Invaluable Resource! August 23, 2010
One of my favorite cookbooks is a little book that I found in a used bookstore in Durango, Colorado, 14 years ago. It was titled Substituting Ingredients: An A to Z Kitchen Reference by Becky Sue Epstein and Hilary Dole Klein. I've used it a lot over the years. Particularly, the substitutions for unsweetened chocolate (1 sq = 3 Tbsp. cocoa plus 1 Tbsp butter) and for milk and cream. When I need to know how much lemon juice to substitute for a medium lemon, I open up this book (since the bottle doesn't say anymore!). Over the years, I've added other substitutions that I've found in magazines to my old copy of this book. The cover is falling off and needs a new layer of packing tape. It has been well used and loved.

I ran across this edition on Amazon a few weeks ago and discovered that it was published this year. I just received a copy of it today! So, I pulled my old copy out and sat for an hour with them comparing them. The biggest question I pondered as a book buyer is: is it worth it to buy a new updated edition or should I save money and buy the older edition for $5 less? In the case of this book, my recommendation is "yes."

There were some minor complaints I had with the old edition. Often spices were listed as substitutions, but not with an amount. There also wasn't much explanation on substituting different types of ingredients. But, I still loved the little book because I had never seen anything else like it.

My complaints with old edition have been fixed! There is a lot more information, but don't be deceived by the number of pages. It may have 191 pages, but it is a small book. The font, though, is easy to read--it isn't too small.
Read more ›
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book November 10, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Gives substitutions for things I've never heard of. If you need a sub for something this book probably has it. Wish I had known of it years ago.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars inaccurate substitutes at times December 25, 2010
This is an interesting little book -- it provides options if you run out of ingredients. It's not vegan or even vegetarian-minded (if that's why you're looking for a substitute book) but I definitely think it's helpful if you're always running out of ingredients or you don't keep much on hand. I did have some issues with the book. For instance, it suggested substituting kale or chard for amaranth and since amaranth is like quinoa, leafy greens are not a good substitution! However, the book does have several substitutions for eggs I'd never heard of before and are much more "everyday" than typical egg replacer suggestions like flaxseeds or ener-g-egg replacer. The book also has a number of spice recipes that are wonderful.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great kitchen helper! September 12, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have owned one of the Substituting Ingredients books since the early 1980's and have used it fairly often. The book has always "saved my bacon" when I found I was out of something or there was an ingredient that I did not care for in a recipe. Decided to purchase the new edition as there are so many more ingredients on the market now than in 1980; the older book just didn't address many of the items I utilize in new recipes. You won't be sorry if you add this lovely little book to your cookbook shelves! It is a keeper!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's an education, too! December 19, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This delightful little book contains a wealth of information and gives you insights into families of flavors and textures. It's careful to distinguish between substitutions that are good for cold mixtures and which work for baking (they're not always the same!) and there are even recipes for sauces, exotic spice mixtures and condiments. The hot fudge was yummy. The book is straightforward and well cross-referenced, and doesn't patronize (Don't you hate it when books assume you don't know what garam masala is?). I took advantage of the 4 for 3 deal to give these as holilday gifts. (I'm SURE my daughter's saxaphone teacher is glad not to get yet another scented candle!)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Greatest Book for Cooks August 10, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a GREAT book....
I bought a copy of this book for myself and loved it so much I immediately ordered one as a gift for every female in my family that cooks. I have since been asked for a copy by a couple of my male relatives that cook..So I will order more of them from Amazon.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have book for the kitchen July 17, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Everyone has been there, needed to substitute an ingredient for a recipe and this book is perfect for that. It is a must have for any cook and any kitchen. There are times when I have wanted to try something different and this book will show you how and let you know that it is ok to experiment and try different items in your food. One of the things my Mom passed down is cook with what you have in the house and don't worry. This book will give you that confidence to get in there, raid your pantry or cupboards and go for it. Enjoy
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Food Sensitivities Helped With This Book May 1, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book and it has helped a lot with giving me different choices of what to substitute in my recipes. I have food sensitivities and this book is very helpful in preparing food I can enjoy. I purchased it threw and got it very quickly and in great shape.
Thank you
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Satisfied customer
Prompt shipping. Product received as advertised.
Published 1 month ago by Katrina
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best, most helpful books in the kitchen
One of the best, most helpful books in the kitchen!! Especially for new cooks that have no idea what they can substitute! Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mom of 4
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth buying!
So glad I bought this book! It's helped me in the kitchen numerous times!
Published 3 months ago by V. Cleghorn
4.0 out of 5 stars and liked it so well
I bought this book for myself,and liked it so well ,thought it would be nice for each of my grown children to have one. So I ordered 3 more! Read more
Published 3 months ago by april bartz
5.0 out of 5 stars Substituting Ingredients: The A to Z Kitchen Reference
This comes in handy some times. I do a lot of baking and sometimes I do not have an ingredient I need. This really helps.
Published 5 months ago by papugh
5.0 out of 5 stars good
I don't know how to spice food and this will help me make a substitution to satisfy my wife! She likes bland food. I like salsa.
Published 7 months ago by Kathrine Krehbiel Moll
5.0 out of 5 stars There is a reason this book has been in print forever
No cook, serious or not, should be without this book in their collection. Thank heaven it is still in print!
Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
great book and a great price. Very handy with helping with all my recipes when and if necessary. Easy to use and understand.
Published 7 months ago by MILLERTIME17
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is great
I have this book and I ordered 2 more. Another for myself so I have one at the lake. And one for a friend for her birthday I thought this would be a great help to her. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Cherie
3.0 out of 5 stars Useful Book
This is a book that all of us who bake need in our kitchen. In just a short time I have made good use of it.
Published 8 months ago by Tim M
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