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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
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.
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."
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).
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.
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I can now easily find the ingredients for fish, meat, veggies or anything...Read more