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The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chefs Hardcover – September 16, 2008


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The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chefs + The Vegetarian Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity with Vegetables, Fruits, Grains, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds, and More, Based on the Wisdom of Leading American Chefs
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (September 16, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316118400
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316118408
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 1.8 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (577 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #301 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Dornenberg and Page's follow up to their award-winning What to Drink With What You Eat certainly compliments its predecessor (part of the intent), but works equally well as a standalone reference for cooks of all skill levels. An alphabetical index of flavors and ingredients, the book allows readers to search complimentary combinations for a particular ingredient (over 70 flavors go well with chickpeas; over 100 are listed for oranges), emphasizing the classics (chives with eggs, nutmeg with cream, sardines and olive oil, etc.). Entries for ingredients such as chicken, beets and lamb span multiple pages and feature menu items from chefs such as Grant Achatz of Alinea, Alred Portale of Gotham Bar and Grill and Le Bernardin's Eric Ripert. Regional tastes are well-represented in broad entries for classic German and English flavors, as well as the more fine-tuned flavors of, for example, northern France or West Africa. The listings, combinations and short essays from various chefs on different matches are meant to inspire rather than dictate-there are, in fact, no recipes included. Instead, the volume is meant as a jumping-off point for those comfortable in the kitchen and eager to explore; though experienced cooks and chefs will benefit most, novices will find themselves referring to this handsome volume again and again as their confidence grows. Color photos.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Creative, self-motivated cooks who don’t demand recipes’ precise prescriptions will cheer the publication of this guide to the kingdom of taste. Addressing the nature of flavor and its role in cooking, the authors have gathered creativity and wisdom from dozens of the world’s best chefs. Page and Dornenburg define the aesthetic of flavor as a combination of taste, mouthfeel, aroma, and a mysterious factor perceived by the other senses and by the diner’s emotions. They then break down in hundreds of tables how ingredients’ flavors relate to one another. For example, the table for apples notes their affinity for cinnamon, pork, rum, and nuts. They also list the most common ingredients of national cuisines. In some cases, they note clashes, such as oysters and tarragon. This is a valuable reference for all aspiring chefs and sets down in print what has often been believed inexpressible. --Mark Knoblauch

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Customer Reviews

I highly recommend this book for the home cooks reference library.
Stan R. Mierzejewski
I love being able to grab an ingredient I want to use to cook with and then just go peruse this book to see what goes well with it.
Stacey
Look up any food you are about to cook with and the Flavor Bible will give you many ideas (many were new to me!)
Christine

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

603 of 628 people found the following review helpful By BJ on October 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I recently added this book to my cookbook collection, which numbers more than 1,000 volumes (probably more like 1200 but I'm still cataloging). It has immediately become one of my favorites (and definitely my #1 favorite in English). If you are a serious cook, love to read cookbooks like novels, and view recipes as suggestions rather than as requiring strict adherence to precise measurements, then this is the book for you! (Did I say I LOVE this book?)

I make all of the desserts for my husband's restaurant. If I snag some particularly luscious fruit and want to make it into a dessert, this is the book I reach for first. I don't WANT to be told how to make a fruit sorbet. I already know how. But I love having a list of suggested flavors and products that go with what I already have. It's like having an uber-creative friend at your side saying "hey, why not try THIS?"

And if you are not an experienced cook, this book provides invaluable guidance that a recipe book never could. It is wholly different from every food book I have ever read.

The book is clever, useful, and obviously the product of prodigious research. To the authors, I send my humble gratitude. You have made my life immeasurably easier, and my dishes far more interesting than ever before.

This book is a must-read if you love to eat or love to cook. I have already bought six copies and have given two as gifts. It's THAT good.
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178 of 185 people found the following review helpful By G. Chen on September 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's more of a compendium of alphabetical listings of foods that are paired together. The format basically goes something like this:

Blueberries
Season: spring-summer
Taste: sour-sweet
Botanical relatives: huckleberries
Weight: light
Volume: quiet-moderate
Techniques: cooked, raw
Tips: Can subtitute huckleberries

allspice
almonds
apricots
bananas
blackberries
butter, unsalted
buttermilk
chocolate, white
CINNAMON
cinnamon basil
cloves...

It is like a book that is a giant index, which refers you to things that can pair well. This book is more for people who have a willingness to experiment. It gives pointers on what other people think might go good with an item, such as blueberries. You have to figure out your own proportions. Of course, responsible cooks probably want to taste the food they serve beforehand anyways. ;)
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188 of 206 people found the following review helpful By Miemi on October 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Bought this book w/o a whole lot of information about it. Can't believe it -- I now have the resource I've been looking for --

I'm a cook with some years of experience, a huge cookbook collection, a list of classes taught by renowned experts and cookbook writers, and still I yearned for a reference that gave me the info on what goes with what (w/o me researching my whole library or classnotes. I guess I need "permissions" and this book gave it to me.

Tonight I made redfish (snapper in the book) with a crust of almonds, chives, parsley and dill (methodology learned in all those classes). Served w a favorite zuchinni recipe that included the "go-to" ingredients for snapper, and roasted potatoes with light sprinkling of rosemary and salt (again, a "go-to" herb for the main dish).

It wasn't overkill (my worry) -- it just plain worked and I did it w/o a single recipe. Cut my cooking time in half and raised my personal culinary "thermometer" by a ton of degrees.

If you cook, know methodology and are looking for a silent but knowledgeable help in the kitchen, buy this book. It's a gem!!!
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184 of 204 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Hernandez on September 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Flavor is the basis for all food, without it, the world would seem less colorful, lifeless, and bland. Food isn't just about what you can taste in your mouth but also what you can see with your eyes, what you smell with your nose and what you feel in your heart. That's what is presented in this book. (The authors wrote two other acclaimed books, Culinary Artistry and What to Drink with What You Eat.)

Culinary Artistry showcased was that food can be art. That colors structure on a plate can evoke emotions the same as any other art work. And like any art work, is in the eye of the beholder.

What to Drink with What You Eat gave us the understanding that beverages (not just wine) can be paired and should be thought of as a condiment rather than an afterthought

The Flavor Bible talks about, well, flavor; but more then that, it talks about what flavor is and how we perceive it, receive it, balance it and emphasize it. All coming to the climax which is a very in depth list (3/4ths of the book) of ingredients detailing its profile (weak, strong), seasonality, and every herb, spice, fruit, vegetable, meat, fish, poultry and alcoholic related item and what would go exceptionally well with it.

So, if it is so good, why did I give it only 4 stars? The list for the most part is just an update from Culinary Artistry; most flavor companions haven't change since the days of Escoffier.
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