Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Flavor Bible

Every once in a while, someone would come up to me and ask if there is a single cookbook that I can do without in the kitchen. My answer would always be The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chefs by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg. It is not a cookbook per se but is an essential guide for any aspiring home chefs looking to put their creative juices to the test and come up with great new flavors. The book goes through almost every imaginable ingredient--from herbs and spices to kobe beef and garam masala--and lists down all other ingredients that go well with it, highlighting the classic (and sometime surprising) pairings (listed as "Flavor Affinities" in the book) along with quotes from famous chefs briefly noting how they use said ingredients in their restaurants. This book can be perceived as a compilation of sorts but I see it more like an encompassing reference guide whenever I have a certain ingredient that I'm looking to use but can't think of what should go with it. Laid out in alphabetical order--starting with achiote seeds and ending with zucchini blossoms--The Flavor Bible is the only book I would need if I was stuck on a desert island with foreign ingredients on hand. It is MY essential guide to the culinary world. It should be yours too!

Highly recommended.

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