Monday, July 27, 2009

Book: The Flavor Bible

The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chef by Karen Page, Andrew Dornenburg

A description from Barnes & Noble's website:
"Great cooking goes beyond following a recipe--it's knowing how to season ingredients to coax the greatest possible flavor from them. Drawing on dozens of leading chefs' combined experience in top restaurants across the country, Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg present the definitive guide to creating "deliciousness" in any dish. Thousands of ingredient entries, organized alphabetically and cross-referenced, provide a treasure trove of spectacular flavor combinations. Readers will learn to work more intuitively and effectively with ingredients; experiment with temperature and texture; excite the nose and palate with herbs, spices, and other seasonings; and balance the sensual, emotional, and spiritual elements of an extraordinary meal. Seasoned with tips, anecdotes, and signature dishes from America's most imaginative chefs, THE FLAVOR BIBLEis an essential reference for every kitchen."

I am really really wanting to have this book. Just as I said about the other book by these authors I read - it is AMAZING! It isn't a cookbook but it is an essential reference for the kitchen and every cook. I learned things about seasoning that I would have never thought of if not picking up this book. It will make it easier for anyone to adjust any recipe to fit what you have one hand. I feel it it will help one be more creative and inventive when cooking. It will just make you into a better cooked. I know that there is so much more I would learn from it by having it in the kitchen.

A quote from the first chapter in the book....that I think summed up the book well...
"Flavor is a 'language' that anyone who love pleasures of the palate will find to be well worth mastering. Once you master the language of flavor, you can use it to communicate -- and become a better cook."

The book has 3 sections but really the third section takes up most of the book. The first section is on learning to recognize the language of food. The taste, aroma, how it feels and that x-factor. And then the second sections is maximizing the flavor by communicating the language of food. And then the final section is like the What to Drink with What You Eat book where it is basically lists. It gives lists of herbs, spices, fruit, vegetables, meat, vinegar, oils, alcohols and so on - and then each list has details under it. Such as if you look up artichokes it tells you when they are in season, the weight, the volume and the technique to use with them. (It goes into the weight and volume more also in earlier sections.) And then under it lists every seasoning that goes with artichokes, cuisines that goes them and flavor affinities. Plus with some ingredients there is a little sidebar box that says "Dishes" and it has chefs from around the world tell how a dish they make with that ingredient. Such one for artichokes says, "Fettuccine with house-made pancetta, artichokes, lemon and hot chilis -- Mario Batali, Babbo (New York)" and under Skirt Steak there is one that says, "Skirt steak marinated in seville oranges and limes --Maricel Presilla, Zafra (Hoboken, New Jersey)."

I know I won't be able to say enough good things about this book. I just feel it covers so much and gave me such amazing inspiration in the kitchen. And has helped me be a better cook. I checked it out from the library but know I would love to have it in the kitchen all the time!

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