Cooking and The Flavor Bible

Oct 05 2009

Cooking is hard. Well, no, the actual act of cooking isn’t particularly hard; it’s the knowledge. How long does an omelette need in the pan? How hot should the pan be, and within what range? All that stuff.

Plus, once one moves on in one’s cooking life from rotely following recipes, one is confronted by the bewildering jungle of choices known as flavor. What goes with what?

Along comes The Flavor Bible to help. Simply, this is an alphabetical list of flavors along with their accompanying flavors. So, if you’re making an apple dish, flip to the Apple section for a list of flavors and ingredients that pair well with apples (caramel, raisins, cinnamon, etc.).

Interestingly, each section is accompanied by the names of dishes from famous chefs using that ingredient. No recipe; just “Baked Pear Torte with Caramel Sauce.” Not only does it make your mouth water, the mind responds with, “Now, how would I make that?” Perfect.

Of course, if you always want to follow the recipe, this book is pretty useless. But if you like to experiment, this is manna from heaven. You can learn the basic process for, say, making a cake, and use The Flavor Bible to come up with dozens of variations without ever touching a cookbook.

I’m definitely glad I bought it.

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