Niki Segnit’s The Flavour Thesaurus is a culinary guide to what goes with what. If that sounds a bit drab, don’t be fooled. The book is a revelation, whether you are interested in food or not. It is packed with history, literary references, lore, wonderful recipes and personal anecdotes – and is informed by both scholarly knowledge and scrupulous research, all of which it wears lightly. Some of it is very funny. Look up Apple and Blackberry for a laugh; Beef and Liver for a Saul Bellow hit, Pea and Rosemary for a delicious soup recipe or Parsnip and Banana for a little history. Those are just random pickings. Heston Blumenthal has decreed that all his staff must read it. And Segnit is about to start a food column for The Times on the back of it. A fantastic book. A great present too.