What do coffee, dark chocolate, radicchio and pale ale all have in common? They are bitter-and delicious. With her new book Bitter, multi-award-winning author Jennifer McLagan makes a case for this fabulously nuanced but misunderstood taste, exploring it through science, culture, history and 120 deliciously idiosyncratic recipes. In the capable hands of McLagan, bitterness emerges from the culinary shadows and gets its deserved place in the spotlight. McLagan is Canada’s most well-respected cookbook writer. Her three cookbooks, Bones, Fat and Odd Bits, have each been heralded as ground-breaking and exciting, and she has won multiple, prestigious James Beard and IACP awards. Her favourite theme is the underappreciated food treasure, be it bone-in, skin-on meats in a boneless, skinless society, the delights of fat in a fat-phobic world or the misunderstood and badly treated offal. With Bitter, she’s at it again, this time exploring a flavour that has been virtually lost to us in our overly sweet and salty world. Great food and cooking is about balance, and bitter flavours add depth and resonance, aiding in the dish’s overall harmony. Understanding how to use, subdue and enhance bitter will make us better cooks. That’s what Bitter is all about.