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Showing 1-10 of 103 reviews(4 star). Show all reviews
on September 16, 2008
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. The "new" list does give mention of the seasonality of produce and also the break down of different cuts of meat such as beef, lamb, pork, and poultry into their respected parts and given their own listings.

Culinary Artistry was my best friend going through culinary school and now I have a great addition that I am sure I'll end up burning through as well. I look to this book every time I cook to add that extra something to a dish. So if you are even the slightest bit interested in cooking or making good food taste even better then you can't go wrong buying this book.
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on January 10, 2009
This book has a short introduction with comments from many great chef's giving snippets of sundry approaches to balancing taste. It contains an overview of what goes into "flavor": taste, mouth feel, aroma, plus "the x-factor"(our emotional reaction including presentation, associations, etc.). But the "meat" (pardon the pun) of the book is a listing of most of the common flavorings with lists of flavors that compliment each other. The listings are also interspersed with advice from famous chefs. The authors are not fans of traditional recipes so do not expect "cook by numbers". However, the authors are students of flavoring, so do expect many suggestions for ways to be more creative (or, more systematic and sophisticated in your creativity).

Positives: the introduction is a fun and quickly read, the advice from the chefs is excellent, the flavor combinations are very helpful (I have several new developments underway) and the listings are quite comprehensive (there are a few ingredients missing -- like one quoted chef recommends palm sugar which is not listed, but as it is not available locally either that may make little difference).

Negatives: lack of an index. The flavors are alphabetical, but good luck finding a specific tidbit from a favorite chef. It glances on, but only glances on technique. It would be helpful to flesh out how to get different flavors out of the same ingredients by changing technique.

Overall: a fun book that spurs creativity. I recommend it -- but will not give five stars to any reference without an index.
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on September 21, 2015
This kinda of information should be giving in all the fine school
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on November 10, 2010
I am no professional chef by any means, but I do love cooking, eating, and finding creative ways to make food even better. This book certainly gives a bit of a "scientific" look at the way we perceive flavor, but it goes beyond that to give an "artistic" look at flavor as well. The index has been an invaluable source for me - it helped me turn a somewhat drab roasted red pepper soup recipe into something robust and zesty, for one thing. It's easily the most informative and useful (reference) cookbook I own - I learn something new every time I open it.

I do not, however, recommend this book for beginners. Learn the basics first, then use this book for branching out and experimenting.
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on April 4, 2011
I'm very happy with The Flavor Bible. If you're expecting a cookbook, don't buy this! This book is more geared toward those who have a pretty good idea of what they want to cook and how to cook it, but perhaps are looking for a new way to spice up an old dish. It begins with a couple of interesting chapters on the concept of taste. Then the rest of the book is basically an index (with yummy-looking pictures): foods listed alphabetically, with suggested seasonings, herbs, veggie accompaniments, etc. listed beneath each food item. I think it's a great way to explore new flavors; and since the suggestions are chef-tested, I feel more confident trying them out. Tired of the same old lemon-pepper seasoning on your fish? Try capers or anchovies or fennel. Bon appetit!
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on January 2, 2013
This book has a few introductory chapters on flavor, mouth feel, etc, but I was hoping for a more in-depth and instructive book. This has very little about technique is is almost solely dedicated to food pairings.

PROs:
1. If you are an experienced cook this book will likely take you to the next level.
2. There are no recipes- this book is about expanding your own creativity and meals.
3. If you are looking for flavor/ food pairing- this is THE book for you.

CONs:
1. Probably not for the novice, it says for cooks of all levels initially but then states that it is a launching point for those with cooking experience. I certainly would advise it only for the later- I wouldn't buy this for the college student just leaving the dorms who doesn't know the difference between a teaspoon and tablespoon.
2. If you are a VERY experienced cook and have a well-trained palate, you probably already know a lot of this. I didn't, but a good friend already knew things like "Cinnamon brings out the flavor of blueberries."

Overall:
I am probably not experienced enough to get the full benefit of this book, but I did find it useful when preparing the menu for a dinner party (I would pick ingredients that paired nicely and then look elsewhere for recipes).
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on October 22, 2012
This book is excellent. It outlines all spices, their origins, their uses & different combinations. This book is a MUST have for professional cooks, chefs and anyone interested in gourmet cooking. It is also great for vegetarians & vegans to help add flavors to their foods.
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VINE VOICEon July 14, 2012
I have seen and passed over this cookbook numerous times thinking it was a waste of paper. Was I ever wrong! I finally broke down and actually gave it a good looking over--then had to have it! It is not a "recipe" type cookbook with step-by-step instructions. It is a listing of different spices, meats etc. and suggestions of which goes with what. I have tried some of the pairings and was thrilled to find some taste combinations that I would not have thought of otherwise. Excellent cooking reference!
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on May 29, 2015
It's strange to be giving a four-star to such a monumentally useful work, because I refer to this thing constantly and it's helped me assemble some truly amazing original recipes. For any cook who has a sufficient basis of technique and imagination to fly solo in the kitchen, this is a tremendously useful reference of tested flavor pairings that can help flesh out an ingredient and texture profile.

I docked a star because the book format is just not the appropriate medium for this information. It should really be a tablet or smartphone app, because it would be far easier to update and expand the information on offer, to cross-reference the listings more deeply, and to append more metadata to each ingredient and each flavor pairing. It'd be awesome to, for example, filter flavor pairings for squid by cuisine and season, or to filter for ingredients that complement both squid and red peppers. I'd love to mine the data with a search engine. The print format is just not right for this kind of effort.
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on April 12, 2015
Be an expert. Know what works with what. There are a few combos I disagree with it, and a few I would add that are missing (Can't goat cheese go with some kind of meat, seriously)?!. But she's right 90+% of the time, and that's good enough. Rather than follow somebody's recipe...just find the main ingredient you like and look at what goes with it, including at least 1 other bolded item (there are many items listed for each, and the bolded ones are the more common, appropriate ones). A great book
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