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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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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.
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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Top customer reviews
That aside, this book is very comprehensive in terms of culinary information. Given time and diligent study, it will help you achieve the status of a great culinarian. I have had to teach myself how to cook, and I realized that great cooking goes far beyond having a recipe book. You have to learn technique, ratios, and all about ingredients and what they do and how they compliment each other. That is what this book is all about. If you want to be a great cook who doesn't need a recipe book, then you need to buy great reference books like this one!
Today, I ran out of blueberries for a tart and instead of running out to the store, I wanted to use what I already have. I looked up blueberries and it pairs best with lemon, cinnamon, peaches, etc The second best it pairs with are ice cream, nutmeg, honey, ginger, raspberries, vanilla, etc. The third best blueberries pair with are allspice, apples, buttermilk, cream cheese, pears, pineapple, pine nuts, etc. Looking up the best flavor affinities has my mind racing with new ideas on how to make the original blueberry tart recipe more flavorful. Something that was more difficult for me to pair was walnuts, so I looked it up as well.
It has beautiful matte pages and includes photos.
2. Since it is an index itself, it does not have an index in the back.
3. You need to know how to do some basic cooking before using this book. You can't be a complete novice, pick up this book and use only this book, then create something flawless. What I mean by that is you need to know how to cook meat, eggs, vegetables, etc.
4. No, there are no recipes, measurements, or cooking suggestions.
Things I have made with the help of this book:
1. Beet soup (Borscht)... simple enough right? Well add a squeeze of fresh orange juice and you have a completely different taste!
2. Sage rubbed pork chops with apple-celery salad. Simple, healthy, and good.
3. Phyllo dough cups with strawberries, tad bit of balsamic vinegar, whipped cream, and shaved chocolate.
4. Fried tarragon chicken nuggets with endive salad.
5. Pork chops with gruyere cheese and bread crumb crust.
I do like the lists, but what I like most about the book is the "Flavor Affinities" at the bottom.
Chicken + basil + cinnamon who knew? I didn't
Green beans + mustard + prosciutto + vinaigrette + walnuts
Pork + apples + ginger + sage (for the recipe I listed earlier)
If you got a good pantry and a decent grocery store near by, you can make this stuff. It's also a good way to cook a little healthier. Sometimes I get so tired of other recipes in various books that just add cream, butter, lard, shortening, or any variation of the sort to have flavor. There are other ways to add flavor, and I think this helps an intermediate cook do just that.
This has become one of my most used references. Whenever I am presented with a new ingredient, I check the Flavor Bible first before consulting a cookbook.
Brussels sprouts? What the heck do you do with Brussels sprouts? Just look it up in the Flavor Bible! The taste of Brussels sprouts is bitter, they have a moderate-heavy weight and are moderate-loud in volume. Recommended cooking techniques include boiling, braise, sauté, simmer, steam, stew and stir-fry. There are a couple dozen ingredients that will go well with it, but it goes especially well with bacon, butter, cheese or vinegar. The book also lists several flavor affinities, such as Brussels sprouts + bacon + onions. So I would try frying some chopped bacon to render it, maybe add a little butter or olive oil if I needed more fat, then sautéing halved Brussels sprouts and chopped onions. A little sea salt & fresh ground pepper, and voila!
Most recent customer reviews
I can now easily find the ingredients for fish, meat, veggies or anything...Read more