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

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


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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 essentialreference for every kitchen.

Winner of the 2009 James Beard Book Award for Best Book: Reference and Scholarship

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316118408
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 09/16/2008
Pages: 380
Sales rank: 8,656
Product dimensions: 7.60(w) x 10.00(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

Karen Page is a two-time James Beard Award-winning author whose books include  The Flavor Bible, which was named one of the year's best cookbooks on both  Today and  Good Morning America, one of the 100 best cookbooks of the last twenty-five years by  Cooking Light, and one of the ten best cookbooks in the world of the past century by  Forbes. The former  Washington Post wine columnist is also the author of  What to Drink with What You Eat, which was named the IACP Cookbook of the Year and Georges Duboeuf Wine Book of the Year. She lives with her husband, author and photographer Andrew Dornenburg, in New York City.

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 website is www.becomingachef.com.

What People are Saying About This

Emily Nunn

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.

Oprah Winfrey

Inspired....Open yourself to a delicious new experience.

Customer Reviews

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Flavor Bible 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 85 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Meant as a sort of companion piece to their IACP award-winning WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT, [Karen] Page and [Andrew] Dornenburg's follow-up [THE FLAVOR BIBLE] works just as well on its own. Like its predecessor, the book is a reference material rather than a traditional cookbook. Ingredients and cuisines are listed alphabetically, enabling cooks to find complimentary flavors. Virtually all the key ingredients/flavors have at least a dozen other items/dishes that go well with them, but some such as pasta, chicken, duck and peaches, have entries that span one or more pages with expanded text to accompany their listing. In many cases the authors include commentary from well-known chefs like Emily Luchetti, Mario Batali, and Michael Lomonaco, among others, expounding on their favorite uses for key ingredients or flavors. This isn't a cookbook in the traditional sense ¿ you won't find any recipes here. What you will find, though, are thousands of flavor combinations as well as new ideas for pairings that will enable you to add depth to your cooking as well as to create new riffs on personal favorites. New cooks may be frustrated initially, but virtually everyone who's serious about cooking as well as finding new uses for items they have on hand will find themselves referring to it again and again. Look for this to make a lot of year-end top 10 lists as well as garner an award or two.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First things first, this is NOT a cookbook. You won't find recipes or very much in the way of cooking instruction. If you can't boil water, this is not the book for you. What it is, is a wonderful reference book that lists food items, gives their basic flavor qualities, the most common preparation method, and then gives a list of other ingredients that have compatible flavors. This makes building new dishes or trying new spice combinations much less of a shot in the dark. It's a must have for anyone trying to break out of recipe prison.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like to wing it when cooking and this book provides me with complimentary ingredients to the items I have on hand. It's fast and easy to find relevant information and inspiration. I plan to use this reference book for many years to come.
mamartinez More than 1 year ago
When I don't know where to go with a dish, I always turn to the Flavor Bible. Also just fun to read through. But when I'm cooking somewhere else, and don't have the Flavor Bible with me, it's as if I'm trying to do long division without a calculator. I still come around, but it's not as easy. pros: -Lots of combinations of ingredients I wouldn't necessarily think of on my own, and all the classic combinations (e.g. Manchego and quince paste) for beginner cooks (and a reminder for me). -Extremely inspiring. So many ways to take a dish. -Beautiful pictures, informative and interesting insets -Almost every ingredient you can imagine. separate flavor profiles for different varieties. For example there are 12 categories for beans, not to mention lentils and peas, and 20 categories for beef. cons: -Doesn't cover many ethnic foods in depth. For example, the category "Ethiopian" lists "spices", not specific spices. -In general focused more on European cuisines. -The photos aren't captioned. The food in them looks delicious, so I'd like to know a little more about it, at least the name of a dish.
arcanebabe More than 1 year ago
Very helpful in coming up with new ways to combine ingredients for dinner. Yummy
wannabe_cook More than 1 year ago
I bought this book a few weeks ago and finally got a chance to look through it. It will now be my favorite kitchen resource book. I love the flavor associations for all the different foods and even types of cuisine. What makes a dish French? Well, simply turn to that entry and you see the typical flavors associated with french cuisine. I am looking to expand on my culinary abilities and having all sorts of flavor combinations at the tip of my fingers will help me tremendously in my journey. I am interested in trying different foods that I didn't have growing up (or simply refused to eat) and I love to know the suggested methods of preparation, sample dish names and the most common flavors that complement most any ingredient.
ChefMVig More than 1 year ago
I love this book!!! As a chef this book is something you want at your fingertips when you are coming up with new ideas. When I saw that it was available as an ebook (and cheaper than another hardcover) I downloaded a sample and then waited until my NOOK arrived so that I could purchase it. When I went to purchase it,suddenly it was unavailable with no reason given. I hope that someone makes a decision to bring it back in the digital version. For cooks of all levels this is the one book you need to have in your library.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I used to have to flip through all my cookbooks for ideas of what goes with what, looking for inspiration on how to use up whatever was in the fridge. Now, I just turn to The Flavor Bible for all the ideas I could ever want. I use this book almost every single day, and I am giving it to my hardcore foodie friends for Christmas.
DaveMt More than 1 year ago
If you are like me, you're creative in the kitchen. Sometimes its because the creative muse takes over and you just want to have fun. Other times, it's because you've discovered at the last minute that you are missing an ingredient and need to try to salvage a dish. No matter why you're being creative in the kitchen, "The Flavor Bible" is an indispensable reference. The bulk of the cookbook is a compendium of compatible flavor combinations. The book is organized by food item and in some cases cuisine (Ethiopian for example.) Each entry consists of a list of items that have demonstrated an affinity with the title entry. For example, let's say you are looking for inspiration for what to pair with plums. To utilize the book, you'd lookup the entry for plums, where you'd find approximately 50 compatible items listed. Each item is coded to indicate the strength of the affinity. There are also sections giving recommended groupings (for example plums+arugula+prosciutto), dish title (plum and bay leaf soup with vanilla yogurt sorbet) and other suggestions (for example, recommendations from professional chefs.) "The Flavor Bible" has inspired me to explore new flavor profiles I'd never dreamed of, it has confirmed combinations I'd already recognized and has significantly improved my results when I'm being creative in the kitchen. A result my family really enjoys.
Smilingsally More than 1 year ago
This heavy, almost 400-page tome is a great idea for someone who is already a good cook, but who would like to become a gourmet. It's divided into three sections: Learning the Language of Food, Communicating Via the Language of Food, and The Charts, which focuses on the matchmaking of flavors. It's quite detailed. Why there's ten pages on cheese! It's a culinary reference book for the chef at heart.
KeenaMom More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed the content of the book - I give that a 5/5. The authors explain the different types of tastes and flavors and then provide a great reference for just about every ingredient you can think of. I love my Nook, but this book was limited by the Nook - I wish I had bought the printed version instead. I give format a 3/5, for an overall rating of 4/5. The bulk of the book is a reference of different ingredients that you don't read & absorb all in one setting. It's a reference that you'll refer to when using those ingredients. However, it's difficult to "flip through" and easily find the ingredient you're looking for. They're not broken out in the Contents tab, and there's no Index. I've resorted to highlighting ingredients I wanted to reference later so they would show up in the Highlights section. Overall, I recommend the book; however, buy the print version.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was a little difficult to navigate at first glance but once you learn the layout the information is invaluable! My wife and I reference it constantly when trying to piece together ingredients in our fridge and have come across some AMAZING combinations. Truly a must have for any foodista.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A must have for those who have a hard bound copy at home but love to cook when away on vacation!
sawmillchick More than 1 year ago
Need inspriration for a new dish. Here it is all in one place. You look up lemon or just about any other food or flavor and it tells you all the other flavors that it will go well with. Well worth the investment. Very simple to use and understand
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm loving this book, especially for the seasonality charts. In winter time it's hard to be creative with just squash and root vegetables and slower cooking meats to choose from. This book inspires you to make the most of all of them. My current favorite is acorn squash which I roast with a little maple syrup, which is much healthier than brown sugar and butter. And I'm already looking forward to more choices to come in spring and summer by scanning the charts of ingredients that are in season then, and what herbs and spices go best with them. This book is much more comprehensive than Culinary Artistry which I still recommend highly for the tips on creating new dishes and planning a menu.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A wealth of information on food pairings, more spice pairings. But I find I don't refer to it often. Didn't find anything 'new' to draw me to try. Maybe more for the novice who has a real interest in experimenting with foods.
Froggette58 More than 1 year ago
I love this book, it could be my favorite in a long time. So glad I found it. it is full of all kinds of helpful info.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've always loved to try experimenting with different flavors but more often than not I end up over doing something. What I needed was a guide that could help point me in the right direction and give me a better understanding of the ingredients I'm mixing. This book does all that! I couldn't put it down last night after I bought it. This will be a book I buy friends and relatives for birthday's and Christmas presents. If you are a novice at-home chef like me, this book is amazing. I'm sure for those who are more skilled that this book would be a great reference to own.
SusanBarnard on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I bought this book for my husband who is an "intuitive" cook, in that he rarely follows recipes - he creates by flavor. I thought he would find this book intriguing, and he did. However, he also found (and implemented) all kinds of new and unusual flavor combos that he had never thought of...this book really "thinks outside the box" but also has very practical uses. A book that I thought was interesting trivia, turned out to be an amazing tool for my husband. This book is not recipes (we have enough recipes at our house), rather it is for inspiration. Also I would think a novice cook could learn a great deal about cooking from this book.
wbarker on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Perfect for : Personal Use, Gift for someone who loves to cookIn a nutshell: This is an awesome book! It is full of such a wealth of information to aid in the kitchen. I can't tell you the number of times that I wanted to take plain chicken and use the herbs and spices that I had at my fingertips to create a mouth-watering meal. . . but no matter what I did, it didn't turn out as planned. With this book, I can do that. It doesn't tell me to put precise ingredients together to create the perfect dish, but rather tells me what I can put together, and what I can pair it with, leaving the creativity to me.Extended Review:Content: The authors take the time to share the different ways we experience flavor in the introduction. They also share some real strategies for balancing the flavors of the meal. The remainder of the rest of the book is comprised of a guide that cross-references different foods and flavors, providing the following for each item: matching flavors (key flavors, those recommended by experts, highly recommended, and those that are MOST highly recommended by the experts), season, taste, function, weight, volume, techniques, tips, flavor affinities and things to avoid.Format: Very easy to use, simply look up an item and find out everything you can (and shouldn't) put with it!Readability: I don't think it could be any easier to read the matching charts and the accompanying information. Just remember that there is an explanation of how the matching chart works on page 37.Overall: A great tool for anyone who wants to cook from scratch on occasion, without relying on traditional cookbooks. Challenge yourself to have some fun cooking using your imagination and this wonderfully helpful book.
Bbexlibris on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is insanity, insanely amazing for sure! The Flavor Bible was written as a reference type guide for when you have several ingredients but enhancing their unique flavours for the best culenary experience result is just beyond you. How does it work? Well, you figure out what you are interested in working on, for me that means what I have in the fridge that I need to eat, or sometimes what I buy on impulse at our amazing Saturday Market and then blunder because I have no idea how it should even be cooked. After you have your ingredient/s you check out what pairs well with it, and for each ingredient or spice there is a crazy long list that you can drool over and choose from. And probably designed especially for me, there are sometimes parings to avoid and they are also listed, YAY!There are also sections titled Flavor Affinities where you can plan a trio of yummy delight, or the " understanding [of] what herbs, spices and other seasonings will best bring out the flavor of whatever it is you're cooking" (p. 33). I can't wait to try some of the ones I see listed! More than a cookbook, this is a reference guide that any person who likes their food to taste good would enjoy. The Flavor Bible lists so many options for most ingredients, many times probably saving you the trip out to the store for that unnecessary item, and that extra candy bar (for the road, you know!).Most of the book is what the authors call, Flavor Matchmaking: The Charts, but there are two other chapters as well. The first chapter is titled: Flavor= Taste + Mouthfeel + Aroma + "the X factor": Learning to Recognize the Language of Food. And really it is a great chapter emphasizing the importance of things such as saltiness, temperature, bitterness, texture, and pungency. I was intregued by "the X Factor" and that is how the food affects us emotionally, mentally and spiritually.The second chapter is called, Great Cooking= Maximizing Flavor + Pleasure by Tapping Body + Heart+ Mind + Spirit: Communicating Via the Language of Food, seriously that is a great title as well! This Chapter discusses things such as " Understanding the Essence of the Ingredients", the " Understanding the Essence of the Moment" (p. 25)This really is a great one, in so many ways! I actually think it is "practically perfect in every way" haha, that is no joke though, it is exquisite! Check out this video below and then you will want it even more :)
davincidad on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This has become my absolute favorite book to cook with. I have a plethora of cookbooks with recipes for almost anything but sometimes have trouble finding the exact recipe I want to use. Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg have talked to well-known and well-respected chefs across the country and developed this massive chart (fully 90% of the book) of "flavor matches". With it, I can start with any one ingredient (hmm...I think I'm in the mood to make something with ginger) go to the appropriate page and find a list of other things that go with it. I have sometimes started with one ingredient, found my second off that list, then turned to the list for the second and found my third, and so on. (Did you know that ginger and tomatoes can be turned into a great sauce for chicken?) If you are the type to slavishly follow recipes, this book may be a bit overwhelming. But if, like me, you find yourself starting with a recipe and making changes as you go along, or even combining two completely different recipes to make a third, this book NEEDS to join your collection.
Wrighty on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When I first heard of this book I thought it would be filled with recipes but this is all about flavor and how to enhance it. Until recently, dishes were based on geography and what was available near you. Now that ingredients are available all over the world they are based on flavor. This book was eight years in the making and is meant to inspire greater, more innovative creations. This guide to hundreds of different ingredients along with different seasonings, herbs and spices will allow you to derive the most flavor from the various combinations.The book is divided into three chapters. The first is a short chapter on how to recognize the language of food. This explains taste and touch (perceived by the mouth), aroma (perceived by the nose) and the "x factor" (perceived by the heart, mind and spirit). The second chapter is also short and is about how to make food taste great by understanding the moment and the ingredients. The moment is comprised of such things as the weather, budget, time, occasion and other resources. The ingredients are based on regionality, season, weight, function and flavor. Chapter 3 makes up the rest of the book and has detailed charts on flavor matchmaking. They are listed in alphabetical order with easy to follow symbols and instructions. Mixed throughout are sample dishes and tips from leading experts from top restaurants.I am amazed by the details in this book. There are flavor combinations and enhancements I never would have dreamed of. My husband is the cook in the family and loves to collect spices, sauces and seasonings. I'm pretty sure he will also be amazed by the contents of this guide.
smilingsally on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This heavy, almost 400-page tome is a great idea for someone who is already a good cook, but who would like to become a gourmet. It's divided into three sections: Learning the Language of Food, Communicating Via the Language of Food, and The Charts, which focuses on the matchmaking of flavors. It's quite detailed. Why there's ten pages on cheese! It's a culinary reference book for the chef at heart.
cassiopia_cat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Thanks to Anna Balasi from Hachette for sending me this book to review and peruse.It isn't a cookbook. What it is is a encyclopaedia of food ingredients like chicken or beef with traditional pairings of flavors that suit them and very untraditional ingredients that will enhance and challenge your taste buds.This is not a book for the cooking challenged...nor does it give any type of step by step instructions or directions. but for an experienced cook who is looking for ideas and exciting food flavors...then this is your answer.Flavors such as basil for our traditional pesto but also basil for syrups and fruits. This is an empowering resource for someone experienced in the kitchen who is looking for new ideas.The book is set up with ingredients listed alphabetically and appropriate choices and pairings listed with each...the best bolded to allow easier experimentation.Thank you for this invaluable resource...a beautiful book to add to my cooking library