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The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chefs [Hardcover]

Karen Page , Andrew Dornenburg
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 16 2008
Winner of the 2009 James Beard Book Award for Best Book: Reference and Scholarship

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.

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The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chefs + Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking + On Food and Cooking
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Inspired....Open yourself to a delicious new experience. Oprah Winfrey in O Magazine

The Flavor amazing. Sandra Lee on the Today Show, on her favorite books for holiday gifting

One of the best cookbooks of the year. Sara Moulton on Good Morning America

A seminal work...Destined to become a classic. Lucinda Scala Quinn on Martha Stewart Living Radio

I love The Flavor Bible...[One of 19] must-have food books [of all time] Ellen Rose on NPR's Good Food 

One of the best books of the year.—People

Unique Newsweek

Flavor masters Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg have compiled an encyclopedic primer to flavor. Associated Press

Readers will find themselves referring to this handsome volume again and again. Publishers Weekly

A unique resource...Wonderfully inspiring and immensely useful. Library Journal

Sets down in print what has often been believed inexpressible. Booklist

Resembles none of the foodie culture's memoirs or cultural histories or cookbooks...It's more like the I Ching. Open it randomly, and it will open you up to an array of possibilities in your culinary future. Emily Nunn in The Chicago Tribune

About the Author

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

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lives Up To Its Title Nov. 11 2008
This book takes the core of the authors' previous book "Culinary Artistry" (which contains a list of just about any food you might wish to eat, and the flavors do and do not go with that food), and expands it to include a greater range complementary flavors, based on interviewing chefs and reviewing menus and recipes throughout America, based on evolving tastes since the earlier book came out.

The Flavor Bible is better organized in many respects than Culinary Artistry - more food combinations listed, flavor affinities ranked (from "marriages made in heaven" to merely recommended), flavor conflicts better identified, and less of the authors' rather frou frou prose. Classic combinations of multiple flavors are provided as well (use these herbs and oils for Greek, use those for Thai). Chef's quotes provide interesting insights about flavor and technique throughout as well.

If you are an improvisational cook, this might well become the most useful cooking reference on your shelf. Buy this volume instead of Culinary Artistry if you don't already own the earlier book, but if you already own Culinary Artistry, you will want to own this one as well (I grabbed it the day I saw it). Pass on your much used, food stained copy of Culinary Artistry to a new cook.

My main quibble with the Flavor Bible would be that the three-column layout make it somewhat difficult to spot the main food at the head of each list - in this regard, I would have preferred that the authors stick with the layout of the list in Culinary Artistry.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-Have Resource Book for the Kitchen Sept. 18 2009
The Flavor Bible is a great resource for those of us who like to cook without a recipe from time to time. I would say it is not for the beginner cook, who might need step-by-step instructions for creating a meal. The Flavor Bible presents, in alphabetical order, a rich variety of foods and flavours with corresponding ingredients to complement them. Some may be classic pairings and others quite unexpected and inspiring. The pairings are not just from the authors, but are a compilation of the best combinations from dozens of world famous chefs.
This is a perfect book for me, a spice and condiment collector who, once I get these treasures home, wonders what to do with them!
The book is prefaced with two chapters devoted to all the factors that go into how we taste foods, and the rest of the book is an encyclopedia of flavour matchings. I love that it is peppered with quotes and facts from chefs and cooks from around the world.
I look forward to reading Culinary Artistry one day soon.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Basis for Much Culinary Experimentation Jan. 17 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a great kitchen reference for beginning and advanced chefs in waiting. Nothing really for direction, but absolutely tremendous for experimentation. This is a dense volume packed with useful information. I have not seen anything better.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The next step in the evolution of a cook March 17 2011
I started learning to cook by following recipes that were either handed down to me or that I got out of a cookbook or magazine. When comparing this method to professional chefs who pull together wonderful, creative dishes with seemingly effortless ease it seems amateurish and simplistic, however it is a necessary phase. By following recipes I learned crucial techniques as well as what a well prepared meal should look and taste like.

The next phase started when I tried to create my own recipes by first substituting one ingredient for another and later by going off the reservation completely by trying food combinations that I had never encountered in my recipes. Sometimes this worked, sometimes it led to disaster. Enter The Flavor Bible.

A few reviewers have criticized this book for being a mere collection of lists of ingredients. Far from that, I see it as the Rosetta Stone for serious home cooks and professional chefs alike. As I have learned to use fresh, locally grown foods more I am often searching for a way to combine them. Trying to find a recipe that allows me to take advantage of a bumper crop of artichokes, sweet onions and garden grown thyme can be challenging. By using The Flavor Bible I look up artichokes and I can see what ingredients compliment it and I can put together a great tasting dish. However, this is only one element of the book.

Beside listing ingredients and pairing them with other flavors the book also lists cuisines that make use of the ingredient in question. You may also look up a specific cuisine (Indian, Thai, Tex-Mex, Moroccan, etc.) and find commonly used ingredients, Flavor Affinities and often, a paragraph or two from a professional chef. Something else that I liked was that you could look up seasons (summer, winter, etc.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not my first choice July 20 2014
By Mylène Bergeron Francoeur TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is not exactly what I thought it would be.

The concept is pretty simple: it has a very long list of ingredients, and it lists all the pairings possible, according to some chefs. I'm not personally too fond of the "celebrity chef" approach, but I do have to concede they have experience.

Their ranking system uses visual cues to tell us what flavor pairings are the best, using bold font and caps. Sometimes, it makes for very long lists of items, in alphabetical order. I would have made that in order of importance (very classic to more adventurous), because it sometimes looks like a very big mess.

Also, the season, taste, function, weight and volume will be shortly described. They might tell you the most common techniques for preparing the ingredient, give you tips about using it, describe the flavor affinities, and which ones are incompatible.

The book is very informative, but I think it could have been made into something more comprehensible and well organized. Comments from chefs are all over the place, and sometimes it's difficult to follow the list of pairings within the layout. Also, about 98% of the book is the listings of flavors pairings. I was expecting a bit more material in terms of how to select the pairings, and be adventurous in the kitchen, like why one thing works while the other will not.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome reference guide
I have used this so many times for reference and cross referencing flavour profiles that I was shocked. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jackie Morrison
5.0 out of 5 stars Just what I needed.
I was looking for a book exactly like this one, that tells us what goes well with what. I didn't want one that matched a few ingredients and gave us recipes, but one that only... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Amélie Gravelle
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book Full of Ideas
Bought this book for myself some time ago, this one I purchased for my daughter as she moved into her new apartment. Read more
Published 4 months ago by ldhammer
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended reading
For any future Chef or Culinary artist. PICK THIS UP! Essential for growth in your range of knowledge. No more to say.
Published 4 months ago by Mark
5.0 out of 5 stars It 's All About Flavor
Lot's of times it is not so much about "What do I cook?" but "Where do I begin?" To me this is where The Flavor Bible excels. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Gary Kent
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Content. Terrible Layout
The contents of this book are great.
The layout is poor for a book with over 300 pages.
I used it a lot when I got it, and much like any other resource book, the more you... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Hunter Hill
5.0 out of 5 stars must have
is very very interesting book ,specially if like cook and try new flavours and stuff to jump out of bored every day cooking .
Published 7 months ago by lUCIANA
5.0 out of 5 stars Staple on the Culinary Bookshelf
This is my 'go to' book for bumping up quick dishes. Provides ideas for flavour combinations in an instant! Great!
Published 7 months ago by chameleon
5.0 out of 5 stars So Good
I loved this book, It made enhancing recipes so much easier. It is truly essential for elevating recipes from plain home cooking to restaurant quality flavour combinations. Read more
Published 8 months ago by alan bakuska
5.0 out of 5 stars Present for my culinary friend
She opened it up and read aloud multiple entries; she loves the scientific way it lays out everything; it's very clear cut.
Published 8 months ago by VictoryD
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