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Showing 1-10 of 17 reviews(2 star). Show all reviews
on February 19, 2011
The content of the book is great. I agree with most other reviews. But the Kindle version is a disaster. Quotes, pictures and other information gets placed in the ingredient list of either the subject before it or after it. For example, a picture of proscuitto right in the middle of the ingredients that are listed under pumpkin. Another example, chef quotes about how they use citrus in the middle of the ingredient list for clams. Another, menu titles using coffee in the middle of the section for cognac. These kind of errors happen every couple of pages. I put up with the madness for half of the book then gave up. Even paging through the rest of it I could see the errors continued!!! Bottom line, great material but buy the book in print!!!! Stay away from the Kindle version!!!
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on July 17, 2011
Unfortunately, I have to agree with all other critical reviews that have been posted. We all seem to agree that this is a 5 star BOOK, but 1-2 star Kindle/iPad product.

First off, the good:
It is rare to find a useful tool like this that appeals to such a wide audience. It is just as helpful to the novice cook at home as it is to the professional, seasoned chef. The content displays various products/ingredients/flavors and all the possible combinations that would combine harmoniously with them. The proposed flavors also have a ranking system to let the reader know which combinations are more popular, as determined by the contributing chefs that suggested the pairings. Please note that these chefs are big-time, brand name kitchen virtuosos - so the input comes from the best in the world. This is a book that I would recommend to anyone who has to pair, mix, or combine flavors. A local food critic turned me on to this book and now I do the same for chefs, caterers, and mixologists.

Now, the bad:
I am pretty upset with the electronic version of the book. As many have already testified, there is no index. Even though I read these reviews already, I decided to purchase the iPad/iPhone Kindle format because there are times when I'd like to access the content without having to lug around a book with me. I was hopeful that an update had taken place, considering the number of complaints about the no-index format. Just so everyone knows, there still is no index as of July 17, 2011. What a bummer. They do have a slide scroll on the bottom so that you can at least jump to a general area of the content. However, a lot of time is still wasted swiping pages until you reach the ingredient you are looking for. It would be nice to have an alphabetical tab system like a Rolodex and/or a normal index that can help you jump to the flavor faster.

Like everyone else, I wish that I had just purchased the hardcover and NEVER bought the electronic version. I am hopeful that the developers finally listen to their customers and make the adjustment that should have been common sense in the first place. Definitely get the hardcover version, but stay away from the Kindle copy until they make the adjustment.
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on July 27, 2009
This book really was disappointing to me. It is basically a list of ingredients and a list of things that might go with them, just lists. There are quotes from chefs but they are not indexed. There are no explanations of how or why the ingredients complement each other. There is a rating system of how well items go together but I think most of the bold or astericked items are pretty obvious to an avid cook or chef. I was expecting an education in ingredients but found, well, lists...
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on February 3, 2015
As noted elsewhere, the Kindle version of this is badly formatted and extremely difficult to navigate, in addition to lacking some of the information found in the book version. I wouldn't go so far to call it "useless," but this Kindle edition is vastly inferior to having a hard copy, to the point where giving the Kindle edition the same name as the original borders on misleading.
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on May 7, 2013
Put simply, the great failing of this book is that it is primarily a rote recitation of things that pair well together. I can appreciate that there are some audiences that would benefit from this. What this book is not, however, is an explanation of the broader principals of combining flavors.
I would describe myself as a decent good amateur chef, but one who lacks any formal training. I understand some principals of combining flavor (e.g., acid and oil), but am also unaware of many of these broad principals. If you want a list of things that pair well with pistachios, buy this book. If you want to be able to discover a random berry and understand what will work with it (and why), you will be stuck analogizing it to things listed in the book.
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on February 25, 2014
On the Mac application, and on a Kindle Keypad reader and the iPhone, the excellent substance of this book is almost impossible to use. The book is organized A-Z, and there is no rapid method to navigate to any particular letter. There is no index as part of the book. The Table of Contents only links to A. An ad-hoc software-based search for an ingredient or other entry yields dozens if not many dozens of hits besides the main entry. Utterly flummoxing. Returned the download for credit. Am ordering the hardcover. The Kindle, at least in the versions I have, is just not practical for discontinuous reference. It's superb for start to finish reading of novels, and passable for some back and forth texts. But for this encyclopedic format, it does not work.
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on January 5, 2014
It started good with the first insights on flavor building and the tips on great cooking, but I hoped for similar pages throughout the book, or at least some usefulness to the list, but I didn't. Some of the matched ingredients seem pretty obvious (like salt, onion, and garlic, which goes with pretty much every savory food and I don't need a list to tell me that).

Sometimes I also felt the quantity of the matching items made it seem like almost everything matched with that ingredient (while with others there would be too few). A written guide would have been useful, rather than quotes, experiences and/or short recipes from the chefs, to try to give me that insight on how to really use an ingredient with what, which ways are they best prepared, especially taking into account the categories they mention (weight, volume/strength, taste, mouth-feel), so the knowledge of this book can be absorbed and applied. But most of the book is really just a list with a bunch of items matching with a bunch of ingredients. Yes it has it's categorizing system (normal, bold, and bold caps) to show their matching strengths, but for me that's not enough. I'd rather have a thorough explanation on how to build on flavor with individual ingredients (even if it compromises the quantity of ingredients listed), than a large list of matching ingredients without explanation.

So, in the end I opted to return the book and buy something I know I'll have more use for.

Update 1/18/2014: I opted for having a more in-depth look into cooking, like with the book Professional Cooking by Wayne Gisslen. Rather than a list, I recommend a more thoughtful information on the process of cooking. This book might be too much for the casual cook or a person that's just starting out, but a book that tries to make you understand a process rather than give you lists and quotes might be more beneficial in the long run. By understanding and practicing cooking, combining flavors could come naturally, rather than just copying a list and not understanding why those flavors can or cannot go together.
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on December 28, 2015
As with most others disappointed with the book, I was hoping for the same "usefulness". There hundreds of lists available of what ingredients work well together. I was half-expecting a little insight, perhaps the most effective condition of the flavor e.g. fresh, ground, chopped. Instead it's a paradoxical index of ingredients. As mentioned by another reviewer, the professional outsider input and example dishes are from a handful of self serving sources (mainly from NYC). These read more like advertisements than guidance.

There were many "nails in the coffin" from just flipping through pages:
4 "Basic" Flavors followed by a not so basic but proven to be so Umami
MSG - Yes, this is an ingredient, why mention it and then omit from the "lists"
Oysters - the "don't eat during months without an 'r' " has been disproven

"Guide to Culinary Creativity"? I have to disagree.
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on January 11, 2011
I got a new Kindle for Christmas and thought this would be an interesting book to read. Chapters 1 & 2 work ok. Chapter 3 is filled with an alpha ordered ingredient list with no way to move around. It's useless and aggravating. Don't buy the Kindle version, total waste of money.
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on June 15, 2014
I felt like I did not get my monies worth , The preview given on the site is misleading and the content should be more simple so everyone can use it . I am trying to sell it to someone who has more use for it and it seems that person has to be a chef .
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