Saturday, December 12, 2009

12 Days of Cookbooks: The Flavor Bible

I was so excited when The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chefs was released (about a year ago), and I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy. And I've kept it it handy ever since.

This one is for more advanced students of food, because there are no recipes. Instead the book provides a comprehensive listing of ingredients, along with flavor affinities, plus pairings to avoid.

It takes the basic concepts of the four basic taste buds (sweet, salty, sour, and bitter) and expands the equation to: Flavor = Taste + Mouthfeel + Aroma + "The X Factor".

When Thomas Keller was in Cleveland last month at the Fabulous Food Show for a discussion on how people could become better cooks at home, one of the things he talked about was having a 'catalog of flavors in your mind that work well together'.

Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg put that catalog on paper for you - it's up to you to put it into practice. Also included in the book are quotes from a couple of dozen chefs such as Dan Barber, Eric Ripert, and Jerry Traunfeld, giving insight into how they approach ingredients and food in general.

If you are more interested in your beverages, than your food, they've got you covered there as well. What to Drink with What You Eat: The Definitive Guide to Pairing Food with Wine, Beer, Spirits, Coffee, Tea - Even Water - Based on Expert Advice from America's Best Sommeliers
the same kind of comprehensive pairing advice for food and beverages. Not limited to wine - the book includes beer, spirit, coffee, tea, and even water - pairings, with the same attention to detail in the lists.

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