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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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I am not a fan of the organization. It's one long list of everything in alphabetical order instead of being categorized. It does not cross reference it self. For anyone that has this book try and put together a dry rub with spices you're not familiar with using only thing book as reference. See if you can differentiate a protein you've never heard of from a grain you've never heard of using only this book.
The format is basically the ingredient's name, the season (harvest), taste, (one, possibly two words, such as sweet, nothing else more descriptive), weight ( i think this has something to do with how you feel after eating, but their explanation is some pretentious crap about wine, mind you not what type of wine goes with the ingredient but some other convoluted BS), volume (again some pretentious BS, instead of saying this thing has a delicate or say bold flavor profile they write it is soft or loud.). This is followed by a long list of other ingredients that it goes with. No explanation as to why things go together just that they do. So instead of say, listing things that go together because they have similar flavors then say a sublist of things that contrast each other and still work when paired. It's one long list with no explanation.
Not really sure who this book is written for. It is useful because it is extensive but it lacks basic information about ingredients that you may not be familiar with. If the ingredient is something you're familiar with then you know what it taste like and what it goes with, and if not this doesn't really say much out side of what it goes with, minus why they go together.
I think this book is intended for the types of cooks that spends more time polishing their pots and knives and admiring how pretty they are then using them. I was looking for a quick reference guide about ingredients and seasonings that I am not familiar including explanations of flavor profiles. I don't know, maybe to include the information that should be part of "The FLAVOR Bible" it would have to be a multi volume set.
I mean if I have to go online to find out that oregano has a slightly bitter, pungent flavor. This pungent flavor is composed of earthy/musty, green, hay and minty notes. The spice imparts a slightly astringent mouthfeel. As apposed to what is listed in the this book, weight (medium to heavy) volume (moderate to loud). That is the actual listing for oregano from the book. that is the entire entry, well that and about a page of thing it goes with as a list.
I enjoy cooking. Friends will tell you that I am a gourmet chef but the fact is that I really am not. I am a foodie who loves to experiment with flavors and also likes the challenge of replicating foods and flavors that I've had in a restaurant. My palate isn't all that sophisticated though. When it comes to cooking I will look online for ideas, I will look at recipes and perhaps start with something I see and then embellish and experiment as I go along. That's where the flavor bible comes in. If I'm in the kitchen the F Bible is never far from my side. I hosted a small plates party recently. I used a couple of mainstay dishes that I always cook but I wanted to branch out... baked egg rolls, hmmmm what vegetables and seasonings would work well together (I didn't want to go for the obvious soy and ginger) -- I ended up with garlic, cumin and soy as a base. It was delish.
My challenge at this small plate feast was that there were people who couldn't handle any level of spice, a person deathly allergic to mushrooms, and a vegetarian. I needed to find substitutions and I did. It was fun figuring out work arounds for everyday flavors and ingredients
There are obvious pairings (garlic and onion) and there are less obvious and more exotic pairings. These folks have so much knowledge. The book is a treasure trove. A great reference for when you want to go with new pairings or if you just have a question about something you'd like to try. You can't imagine the wealth of information packed into this very portable volume. Figs, hmmm what would go well with figs. Crack the book open to page 161 (its arranged alphabetically) and you will find a list of fig info including ways to use it and cook with it.... and then a list of its complementary foods and flavors In this case the fig pairs with; Almonds, anchovies, anise, apples, arugula, bacon, butter, a few cheeses, cherries, chicken, chococate........ All this and I'm only up to the letter C. It goes all the way through to walnuts.
BOTTOM LINE.... Honestly, my review here can't begin to do this book justice. it is well worth double its list price. I've owned my copy almost ten years and I am not sure how I got along without it. You can go online and pretty much find any recipe you desire. But the information in this book just isn't available in any sort of comprehensive way online that I have found. This truly is a flavor bible written by religious food fanatics.... they have left very few stones unturned. Though I see now that they have a vegetarian flavor bible. I might have to check that out as well. If you like to be creative in the kitchen this book is a must. Buy it. Honest. You'll thank me.
Kindle should hand deliver a refund.
My husband and I have given this as housewarming gift three times. It has always been well received.
Top international reviews
But, It's American. and the flavours they talk about are American. So if you're looking for ideas for say smoked mackerel , you won't be finding much inspiration in this book. Same applies to many flavours and food combinations from Asia.
So really, it should be called "The American Food Bible"
such a good book and so useful for anyone looking to do spontaneous/creative cooking.