BODEGA BAY Calif. Sharon Tyler Herbst, whose "Food Lover's Companion" has served as a much-thumbed glossary for a generation of culinary students, food writers and other industry professionals, died in her home here on Jan. 26 of ovarian cancer.
The author of 17 books, Herbst's first cookbook, "Breads," was published in 1983 and was honored with the R. T. French Co. Tastemaker award as best bread cookbook of the year.
She wrote "Simply Sensational Desserts" in 1986 and "The Joy of Cookies" in 1987. Her landmark "The Food Lover's Companion," an encyclopedia of cooking terms and ingredients, was published in 1990 and is still in print. Following two revisions by Herbst, the book's number of definitions has grown from 3,000 to 6,000 and has sold more than one million copies.
"It always amazed me that such a book could be written and that it was virtually on everybody's desk," said Kerri Conan, a freelance editor and food writer based in Bonner Springs, Kan., "Any food person I know has it close by."
In recent years Herbst wrote a compendium of kitchen tips titled "The New Food Lover's Tiptionary," and "The Ultimate Guide to Pitcher Drinks." With her husband, Ron Herbst, she co-authored "The Ultimate A-to-Z Bar Guide" and "The New Wine Lover's Companion." Their latest book, "The Cheese Lover's Companion," which will have more than 1,000 listings of cheese and cheese-related terms, is scheduled to be published by Morrow in June.
Herbst served on the board of the International Association of Culinary Professionals for eight years and was its president in 1989.