I’ve told you all before how invaluable The Flavor Bible is to my cooking. But I haven’t yet gone into detail about why this book is such a must-have for novice cooks and culinary masters alike.
Since tomorrow marks a full year of publication, success and praise for The Flavor Bible, I thought today would be an appropriate day to give you my full review.
WHAT MAKES A GREAT DISH?
The first two chapters of the book delve into the “Language of Food,” in other words, what makes food what it is: Taste + Mouthfeel + Aroma + “The X Factor.” We all know that taste and texture are big factors in determining if we’ll enjoy a dish. Our sense of smell and sight, along with our emotions and even our spirituality can also affect how we perceive food, says The Flavor Bible.
By recognizing these factors, it says, we can learn to create outstanding dishes appropriate for any situation. This involves taking into account the seasons, weather and the occasion in order to determine variables such as cooking technique, food temperature, weight and flavor.
These first two chapters are insightful and inspiring, setting the tone for the entire book and offering concrete examples and personal narratives from master chefs.
THE CHEF’S THESAURUS
As a writer, a thesaurus is a tool I use several times a day. The third chapter of the Flavor Bible (consisting of more than 300 pages and making up the bulk of the book) is a sort of cooking Thesaurus, listing all of the possible flavor options recommended when cooking with a certain ingredient. Like a thesaurus or dictionary to a writer, this is a valuable tool for any cook. Rather than offering rigid instructions and guidelines, it provides a loose framework that fosters creativity.
The book not only list the complimentary ingredients and flavor affinities for almost every ingredient imaginable, but is also chock-full of testimonials from internationally known chefs that relate to many of the more common ingredients. Do not skip over these valuable nuggets! As with many cooks, I am inspired by the interesting menu items when eating out, and these excerpts provide a behind-the-scenes journey into the kitchen of some of the most renowned restaurants in the world.
There’s even a few from our good friend Rick:
The Flavor Bible won a James Beard Book Award in 2009, and in my opinion, it’s an absolute must for anyone who is passionate about food and cooking. Click here to buy The Flavor Bible on Amazon.
It’s on sale for 23 bucks—an awesome deal.