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Monday, February 16, 2009

Review: The Flavor Bible by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg

Title: The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chefs
Author: Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg
Photography: Barry Salzman
Pages: 392
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (September 16, 2008)
Genre: Non-Fiction / Cooking
Edition: Hardback - many thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy to review!

Perfect for : Personal Use, Gift for someone who loves to cook

In a nutshell: This is an awesome book! It is full of such a wealth of information to aid in the kitchen. I can't tell you the number of times that I wanted to take plain chicken and use the herbs and spices that I had at my fingertips to create a mouth-watering meal. . . but no matter what I did, it didn't turn out as planned. With this book, I can do that. It doesn't tell me to put precise ingredients together to create the perfect dish, but rather tells me what I can put together, and what I can pair it with, leaving the creativity to me.

Extended Review:
Content: The authors take the time to share the different ways we experience flavor in the introduction. They also share some real strategies for balancing the flavors of the meal. The remainder of the rest of the book is comprised of a guide that cross-references different foods and flavors, providing the following for each item: matching flavors (key flavors, those recommended by experts, highly recommended, and those that are MOST highly recommended by the experts), season, taste, function, weight, volume, techniques, tips, flavor affinities and things to avoid.

Format: Very easy to use, simply look up an item and find out everything you can (and shouldn't) put with it!

Readability: I don't think it could be any easier to read the matching charts and the accompanying information. Just remember that there is an explanation of how the matching chart works on page 37.

Overall: A great tool for anyone who wants to cook from scratch on occasion, without relying on traditional cookbooks. Challenge yourself to have some fun cooking using your imagination and this wonderfully helpful book.

From the Publisher's Site:
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 BIBLE is an essential reference for every kitchen.

Video from YouTube:

About the Author: (From the publisher's press release)Recently cited as two of a dozen "international culinary luminaries" along with Patrick O'Connell, Alice Waters, and Tim and Nina Zagat (in Relais & Chateaux's L'Ame et L'Esprit magazine), the award-winning authors Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg have written several groundbreaking books chronicling and celebrating America's culinary revolution. What to Drink with What You Eat, Becoming a Chef, Dining Out, and The New American Chef were all winners of or finalists for Gourmand World Cookbook, IACP, and/or James Beard book awards. In March 2007, Page and Dornenburg were named weekly wine columnists for the Washington Post. Karen Page is a graduate of Northwestern and Harvard Business School.

Andrew Dornenburg studied with the legendary Madeleine Kamman at the School for American Chefs and has cooked professionally in top restaurants in New York City. Their Web site is www.becomingachef.com

If you have reviewed this book and would like me to add a link to your review, please include a link in your comment!


bermudaonion said...

I think this book is great for anyone who knows basic cooking techniques.

Anna said...

Oooh...I really need to get this one!

Diary of an Eccentric

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