Sharon Herbst's Tiptionary is much more than a "Dear Abby" of cooking. Take bread, for instance. Did you know that one beaten egg has the leavening power of half a teaspoon of baking powder? That breads made without fat, like French bread, have shorter shelf lives because fat holds the moisture in? That if you're going to use a glass pan instead of metal, you ought to reduce the oven by 25 degrees? The tips go on and on, simple enough for any novice to understand and appreciate, extensive enough for the most experienced cook to learn a thing or three.
From abalone (should be alive when purchased, cooked within a day, pounded for tenderness, and not overcooked lest it toughen) to yogurt (is storable for up to ten days after the carton date, can be substituted for sour cream in baked goods, and keeps the intestinal system full of healthy bacteria--though not if it's been frozen), Herbst's culinary guide divulges more than 4,500 facts, shortcuts, and remedies on everything to do with food and drink. If you didn't take notes whenever Mom uttered some crumb of kitchen wisdom, and don't want to call her every time you overbeat the whipped cream, curdle the soup, and can't get a jar to open, it's no longer a calamity. The Tiptionary tells you the approximate volumes of common pan sizes, instructs that pecans have a fat content over 70 percent, and explains how to eradicate a lingering onion odor (from kitchen, hands, and breath). Because it's compact and wastes no space on color plates or fancy illustrations, there's room, and certainly a place, for the Tiptionary in even the most petite of kitchens. --Stephanie Gold [via]