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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lives Up To Its Title
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...
Published on Nov. 11 2008 by Robert Pattison

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Half Way to Where I Want to Be
My interest was looking for a book that would not only explain flavours, but also to better explain which flavours work best with what particular food. I wanted specific fruit and spice combinations. Some of that was here and some of it was simply missing.
Published on June 19 2011 by E. Dickstein


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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lives Up To Its Title, Nov. 11 2008
By 
Robert Pattison (Toronto, Ontario) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chefs (Hardcover)
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.

I noticed that at least one flavor conflict (lavender and chestnuts) identified in a chef's quote did not make it into the lists - it might be worth scouring the quotes to look for other affinities and conflicts within the pages of the book for the next edition. They do not list two of my personal favorite flavor pals (strawberries + Drambuie, and cherries + harissa); however, my wife disagrees with me over the latter, so perhaps that is just as well.

A searchable CD-ROM containing the lists would be a valuable enhancement to this text; it would be wonderful to be able to cross reference compatible flavors with the other dimensions of flavor (taste, mouthfeel, aroma, and "the X factor") which are identified in the book, in order to facilitate experimenting with the types of contrasts which often lead to the creation of a successful dish.

None of the foregoing, however, should take away from the scope and accomplishment of this magnificent, ambitious, and highly useful work.

Highly recommended.
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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
This review is from: The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chefs (Hardcover)
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
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This review is from: The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chefs (Hardcover)
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
By 
Timothy B. Riley (San Antonio, TX USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chefs (Hardcover)
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.) and find what foods are best served when it is hot or cold outside.

The photographs (by Barry Salzman) are top notch and very inspirational. There are not very many of them but I don't think that there needs to be since this is not a cookbook you don't need to see what a particular dish is supposed to look like when completed.

If you are still a little rusty on technique and are unsure about relative proportions you may not be ready for this book. If however you have graduated from only using the recipes of others and would like to explore unique and wonderful flavor combinations, I couldn't recommend this book any higher.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the Flavor Bible knows its way around a kitchen, March 29 2009
By 
This review is from: The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chefs (Hardcover)
"How do you know what goes with what?"

Lucille had asked me several times over the Christmas break, as we chatted happily and celebrated Christmas together at my Dad's place in Ontario. Lucille is Joanna's brilliant best friend, a multi-lingual vivacious Italian New Yorker, now living in Montreal. She is a super foody - she loves to talk and she loves great food - we were having fun, and I could she was seriously interested.

I thought of Lucille immediately when I spotted "The Flavor Bible" at a bookstore in Vancouver, several days later. I was amazed and delighted when I started flipping through it - I knew immediately I had to have this book. I bought two copies, one for me and one to send to Lucille.

This book is brilliant! Flavors are arranged alphabetically, and each flavor is examined in delicious detail.

Say you want to do something with Apples, for example. Flip to the section on Apples, and you get such facts as season, taste, function, weight, and volume; a list of cooking techniques, a lengthy list of flavors and ingredients that combine well with apple, Next you get tips and dishes from famous chefs (such as Emily Luchitti of Farallon, or Michael Laiskonic, from Le Bernardin). Finally you get my favorite part, the Flavor Affinities, a deliciously-detailed list (apples + almonds + caramel or apples + cinnamon + dark chocolate + yams, for example). It's so cool! I love it!

Ok, let's try something else, something savory. Foie Gras. Again, a nice list of complementary ingredients - including allspice, Armagnac, cherries, figs, grapes, rhubarb! Dishes like Carrie Nahabedian's Foie Gras with Roasted Plums. Bob Iacovone from the Cuvee in New Orleans, talking about stuffing Twinkies with foie gras (hmm) And of course the Flavor Affinities, including foie gras + strawberries + black pepper. Yum.

And there is more. You can also find these detailed flavor guides listed by regions, with sections such as Portuguese, Spanish, Cajun, or Thai cuisine, including of course those wonderful Flavor Affinities. Being from a German background, I took a look at the 10 different listed Flavor Affinities for German Cuisine. The list - including such favorites as ginger & sauerbraten; dill + cucumbers; cream + paprika + poppy seeds - is quite accurate, definitely convincing me the Flavor Bible knows its way around a kitchen.

Needless to say, Lucille was thrilled with the book, and has been using it daily. I have a standing invitation to stay with her and husband Valmont in Montreal. I must take them up on that!

For a chef, this book will open up cooking opportunities that may have been forgotten, and offer some new viewpoints. For a committed or curious foodie it is an exciting guide to ingredient combination and flavor opportunities. This is a great book, and I am sure you will love it as much as I do!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, Oct. 1 2013
By 
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This review is from: The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chefs (Hardcover)
This book is a reference for all serious foodies, professional cooks and Chefs.

Having been a professional cook at some of the most recognized restaurants in Montreal,
I can assure you that the when the "back of the house" worked on a new recipe, this book was consulted and experiments were done.
It's not a recipe book, it's a guide and the results are endless. (There's actually some proven science behind this.)

If you are the type who wants to hit a "grand-slam" at your first try, get a Rachel Ray 3"x5" index card and play it safe.
Anyone can follow a recipe. That doesn't make you a knowledgeable cook.

This book is as much a reference as "Le Guide culinaire" from the great Auguste Escoffier.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best non-cookbook ever!, Feb. 25 2013
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This review is from: The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chefs (Hardcover)
I purchased this as a Christmas present for my son who loves experimenting (he sees recipes as a great emergency measure, but prefers to play with flavours and textures when there's time). Since then the Flavor Bible has become one of the best-loved books in our house. It's a terrific reference and makes a nice coffee-table book as well (okay, maybe you need to be a bit of a flavour-geek to appreciate that aspect... but it works for us!).

Perfect for any kind of cooking, whether it's checking out a combination of flavors in an existing recipe, looking for substitutions ("oops...ran out of orange rind... what else can I use to complement these other ingredients?"), or looking for THE ingredient to round out the flavor of that barbecue sauce we've been trying to perfect. Also, I use it regularly to deal with issues such as allergies... have to make a potluck dish but someone's allergic to lemons; how can I get around that without losing the flavour of the dish? It's becoming our go-to book for many such situations.

There are no recipes in this book; it lists ingredients and the flavours that complement them. There are commentaries from chefs from around the U.S and Canada and photography that, while maybe a bit sparse for a coffee-table book, definitely adds a mouth-watering touch. The format is unusual for those of us who are used to a list of ingredients with measurements and a roster of steps to follow. That's not what this book is about... rather, it's to help generate ideas and to give our creativity a nudge... and this is just the book to help us be creative in our recipe-centred cooking culture!

I bought this book knowing exactly what I was getting (we borrowed a copy from the library before purchasing it) and I've recommended it many times since then. Great purchase for anyone who loves to cook and experiment with new flavours.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most useful cookbook for me, April 9 2009
By 
M. Braithwaite "mb" (Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chefs (Hardcover)
This book has been fantastic for me. It is essentially an alphabetical list of ingredients, with each ingredient followed by an alphabetical list of items with flavour affinities, with some identified as especially synergistic. Very easy to use. (Reviewers here that quibble with the organization and want an index must not know their alphabet. It would be like adding an index to a dictionary.) Very helpful for ingredient-driven cooking. I use it almost daily, by choosing an ingredient on hand and identifying affinity items that I also have at hand. From this, Ieither look for a recipe with those ingredients, or simply improvise. I now prefer to improvise.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Half Way to Where I Want to Be, June 19 2011
By 
E. Dickstein (Montreal, Quebec Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chefs (Hardcover)
My interest was looking for a book that would not only explain flavours, but also to better explain which flavours work best with what particular food. I wanted specific fruit and spice combinations. Some of that was here and some of it was simply missing.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Godsend!, Dec 11 2010
By 
A D Baker (ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chefs (Hardcover)
I read a couple of the reviews before I bought this book. Those who reviewed it negatively I suppose couldn't wrap their brains around not having an index in the book. But everything is in alphabetical order--so if you would like to know what to season or serve with chicken, you just have to look for the "C"s... and then look for the "h"es... It's like a dictionary--in alphabetical order!!

Anyway, I LOVE this book. It's very easy to understand, and has allowed me to create some very tasty dishes! If you love to cook, and are looking for new flavours, or are just starting out, you'll love this book!

A definite buy!
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