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Taste: One Palate's Journey Through the World's Greatest Dishes Hardcover – October 27, 1998

4.5 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Fans of David Rosengarten will be thrilled with the publication of Taste, not so much a companion volume to his popular Food Network show as a distillation of all the man holds dear. It is a remarkable, lush effort, beautifully illustrated with rich color pictures of exotic and home-grown foods. How many food-addled souls out there take the time, like Rosengarten, to sit down and catalog all of the personal favorite dishes from around the world, and then explain why the dish is so delicious, and exactly what makes it special? And oh, by the way, here's how to cook it!

Rosengarten begins his culinary adventure with a chapter entitled "My Favorite Light Appetizers." Here is bruschetta, remarkable Chinese appetizers, gazpacho, Thai salads, and oysters and caviar. In this and every chapter is everything you need to know in order to buy and prepare these foods; ideas on how to serve them; order them in a restaurant; judge them for quality and seasonality; and the right wines to accompany each dish. Other "My Favorite" chapters include in-between dishes (French onion soup; quiche), main courses (Szechwan Shrimp with Chili and Garlic Sauce; moussaka), and desserts (Tarte Tatin; chocolate-chip cookies). A wealth of cooking instruction is here to make your life easier too. Take Gumbo--Rosengarten details three ways in which to thicken the texture, by traditional roux, by okra, and by filé powder. Next comes a delightful recipe for Shrimp and Andouille Gumbo, and a list of recommended beers.

David Rosengarten brings remarkably good tastes into the home kitchen--anyone studying this book will be able to hold court with the best of them, Martha Stewart included. --Schuyler Ingle

From Publishers Weekly

Host of the Food Network program's Taste, Rosengarten (Dean & DeLuca Cookbook) is known for his spirited personality, a zesty quality that informs his new collection of international recipes as well. Opinionated, enthusiastic and not afraid of being a little silly at times, he offers more than 100 dishes that touch many familiar bases. Among appetizers, he suggests Bruschetta (with recipes for six toppings), Simple Ceviche with Herbs, and Cold Noodles with Spicy Sesame Sauce. He also tweaks some standard recipes by adding twists to My Favorite Guacamole (North Mexican Guacamole with Tomatillo Pur?e) and (despite his stated reluctance to make a dessert risotto) Strawberry Risotto. A few recipes are demanding, such as Terrine of Foie Gras with Sauternes Aspic, but he also has a remarkably easy Modern Version of an Ancient Paella. Throughout, Rosengarten recalls his first trips to Bangkok, Madrid and elsewhere and freely dispenses advice on topics from how to judge and eat caviar to how to clean a soft-shell crab. Some recipes call for special equipment: a stove-top smoker is necessary for Jerked Chicken and for Barbecued Dry-Rub Ribs, Memphis Style. Desserts include Mango Sorbet and Jean-Georges Vongerichten's famous Individual Molten Chocolate Cakes. A final chapter on potables covers everything from wine to coffee. Author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1st edition (October 27, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375500111
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375500114
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,143,302 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
A great book for many reasons - foremost is that Rosengarten is not afraid to express a definite opinion whether it is fashionable or not! His wine and beer chapters are gems, echoing my husband and my sentiments regarding big, oaky wines NOT going well with many foods. Rosengarten introduces you to many wine varieties that go well with different flavors of food, and his intuitive method of pairing food with wine is helpful. He sees food and wine as partners - each helping the other to taste their best. It's realistic!
His recipes are very good and there are definitely some gems in here, but the real value of them is that each one is really a course in itself, discussing traditional preparations and variations, then giving his version of the recipe. He tells what ingredients impart what qualities, so you feel that you have more control over the end product. After you read about and make his version of a classic dish, you gain the knowledge to judge other recipes and preparations of the dish, and develop your own opinion of how YOU want it to look, taste, feel.
The book really is what it advertises - about devoloping your sensitivity toward food, i.e. Taste. Though quite a "foodie" myself, I found I learned more than I expected from this book.
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Format: Paperback
In an improvement on the current influx of cookbooks that promise the perfect, culturally and culinarily correct recipe, David Rosengarten has offered us the truth. He shows us in TASTE, that even the most historically correct food is personalized by the cook. It is easy to miss this detail, when it would seem that his words suggest that only purists should cook!! He is, however, quick to remind us in his examinations of his favourite meals, that the (strong!) opinions stated are his own.Rosengarten passionately wants people to be as excited by food as he is, and invites us to think about ingredients and where and WHY they belong. His forceful words (how often he exclaims, "Do NOT, under any circumstances...") are not intimidating because of the wealth of his knowledge. So much can be learned from Rosengarten about enjoying the food we eat. But he does not stop there - the most accessible, unpretentious introduction to wine awaits you at the end of the book. He starts with a terrific outline of the the components of flavour (salty, sweet etc.) and clearly shows how to match wine with food. But not any wine, no - inexpensive, easily found wine types. This section alone is worth the cost of the book.
Every base is covered in Taste for you to have an enjoyable, educational read (and cooking experience - the Crab Cakes are sublime!). Rosengarten is the friend who doesn't care which of the Seven Wonders of the World you saw on your vacation, he wants to know what you ate when you were there!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have absolutely loved everything I have tried from this cookbook. It is also fun and enjoyable to read. The reason I gave it 4 stars rather than 5 is that many of the recipes are quite complex. Once I started experimenting, I discovered that it is often possible to simplify the recipes without losing anything. For example, the stir-fried shrimp recipe calls for deep-frying the shrimp first, which is a hassle. I had wonderful results just stir-frying them. To give him credit, Rosengarten carefully explains the reasons for each unusual step. While I chose not to follow his instructions precisely, I did learn a good deal from reading his explanations. This is a great book for anyone who is confident in the kitchen. It can also be very educational for someone just learning to cook, but beginners may find the recipes dauntingly complex.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
David Rosengarten's FoodTV show, Taste, beautifully illustrated how good the food network *used* to be. Instead of trying to cover several dishes during his half hour allotment, Rosengarten focused on one item in particular -- and then told you everything about it. He showed what could go wrong with, say, a reuben sandwich or creme brulee, and then demonstrated how to do it right. You knew what his standards were and how to achieve them. Oh -- and he did it all with humor.

I think his book, Taste, came out at about the same time. It has the same premise: individual dishes in great depth, rather than a whole cuisine or a collection of random beef (or whatever) recipes. So you get five or more pages about paella or BBQ ribs or the "ordinary" fruit salad. The result is that you learn EVERYTHING about that one subject: his criteria for quality, the variation in methods (for example, Rosengarten compares the difference in gumbo when the dish is thickened with roux, okra, and filé powder), and sometimes its history.

It's always informative, and I have NEVER had a recipe failure. It isn't always the simplest choice, but he explains why you should bother with the extra effort. (His explanation of charcoute garnie causes me to pick a Parisian restaurant that specialized in it, so I could understand exactly why he made such a big deal about it. I'm spoiled for life, now, because I can't find the right kind of saurkraut to make it myself.)

The result is that I don't flip through Taste when I'm looking for an "I'm in the mood for Italian" dinner. It does mean that, when we're thinking about making crab cakes, we're guaranteed to say, "Does Rosengarten have a recipe? Let's see what he does."
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