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Vinegar: The User Friendly Standard Text Reference and Guide to Appreciating, Making, and Enjoying Vinegar. Paperback – December 4, 2000

3.3 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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  • Vinegar: The User Friendly Standard Text Reference and Guide to Appreciating, Making, and Enjoying Vinegar.
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Editorial Reviews

From Scientific American

"Anything you ever wanted to know about vinegar is answered by "The Vinegar Man", Lawrence J. Diggs in his authoritative reference guide." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From The New Yorker

"Vinegar tells you everything you never thought of asking about the puckery stuff." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 324 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse (December 4, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 059514716X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595147168
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #402,988 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Todd M. Schriver on April 7, 2006
Format: Paperback
Lawrence Diggs is, in all likelyhood, the most knowledgable vinegar enthusiast in this country; but that doesn't make this a great book. It's a problem of editing and clarity, it just isn't written for laymen and the writing is often off-kilter. Additionally, it's directed at an audience who already knows how to make vinegar but wants to fine-tune production.

I found it to be immensely helpful in tweaking my vinegars, adjusting acidity and preventing infections... but if I only had this book I wouldn't have known where to start in the first place.

The bottom line is if you want to learn to make vinegar you are better off with The Joy of Cooking or How to Cook Everything; when you're ready to take your Vinegar making to the next level this is the book to read.
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Although this is a very thorough book on the subject of vinegar it focuses primarily on industrial production and very, very little on making it yourself at home. I was hoping it would be more along the lines of a book explaining how to brew beer, which is a hobby I enjoy.
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Format: Paperback
This author really knows and cares about vinegar. However, as a guide for beginners, this book is not useful at all, and it's not very fun to read. It is poorly written, with typos and grammatical errors on nearly every page.
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Lawrence Diggs clearly knows a LOT about vinegar. The book spans topics from the history of vinegar to superstitions about vinegar to "how to say 'vinegar' in a bunch of different languages." Unfortunately none of these topics feels particularly complete, and the book is lacking the one thing I was really hoping for: clear, concise directions on *how to make vinegar.* Sure, it discusses the production of vinegar at some length... but in a vague, disorganized way. It feels sort of like reading about teddy bear manufacturing when what you really want is a sewing pattern for a teddy bear.

Also, this book really, really, really needs an editor. I get the impression from the imprint that this may be one of those "just barely one step from self-publishing" publishers that doesn't even bother proofreading the manuscript- the book is absolutely littered with typos and grammatical errors, as well as odd phrasing and sentence structure, as well as some straight-up bizarreness. (My favorites: "But like scientist today, these fellows ['the ancients'] rarely told all they knew. And when they did speak, they most often spoke in code or riddles, so we don't really know what they knew." and also: "Two heads are better that one, even if one is a goat head.")

The content really needs an editor's touch as well. Some things are covered ad nauseum (there are pages upon pages of poorly-rendered photographs of bacteria or diagrams of obsolete vinegar stills) while other very basic things are left out. For example, the short section on "Fining" tells me that it is an old process that is still occasionally used, and often uses bentonite, but sometimes Isinglass or even dried blood. What it does NOT tell me is wtf "fining" is.
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As others have mentioned this is NOT for the beginner. It is in fact for those who wish to become very frustrated and angry at the feeling of having just been misled, and thereby ripped-off, by a rather misleading title. This will NOT teach you everything you need to know for home production. It will however inform you of the colossal machinery needed to produce such a product at a rate of several thousands of gallons a day.
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Format: Paperback
The book is well written and covers everything I wanted to know about vinegar. Who knew there was so much to know? The vinegar man did. The research, as reflected by end notes and bibliography, is immense. If I want to know more, I can take the references and spend years in study. Lucky for me, the vinegar man has done it for all of us. If you are into zymurgy, or have dabbled in making vinegar read this book.
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This book offers almost no information beyond what you get from a good google search. The whole chapter on balsamic vinegar is just plain wrong. And its not even printed up to modern standards. The author doesn't appear to know better; the publisher should be ashamed.
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This is a good reference book to have, but it is certainly geared to the large scale vinegar production, not the small vinegar maker. It has so much information in it that I don't really need to know, but the author certainly is knowledgeable. Although the reading of it is much more information that I want to know about how to make vinegar, it is a good book to have for reference.
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