02 December 2015

The Cook's Critique: The Flavor Bible

The Cook's Critique? You've seen it only twice before. What is it? Well, let me explain. Cook's Critique is a category for posts in which I review cooking related things. Home delivery services, products, helpful tools, the latest "it" name it!

This time around I want to share a little secret with you all..

Meet the Flavor Bible. This book is your new handbook to cooking. Forget cookbooks. You don't need them if you own the flavor bible. Written by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg, this book is a serious weapon.

To start you off, there is a chapter on flavor. What is flavor? How do we identify it. It covers what your dish should have to come out with really great flavor and helps you understand how to get creative and build a balanced dish. Scallops with fennel and oranges? Yep! You'll read about how we taste, feel and experience our food. It is seriously eye opening.

Next, they cover how to take your knowledge of flavor and translate that into great cooking. There is a huge focus on the feelings we develop about food while eating- the emotions behind communicating with food. It helps you understand more how the best chefs tap into people to create their dishes.

Lastly, and this is my favorite section which basically takes up 90% of the book: the match making section. The entire section is full of ingredients. It takes an item, and in column form lists its taste profile, weight, volume, best cooking method and everything that compliments it. And here is where it gets really good: ingredients in lower case, normal font are good matches, those in lower case, bold font are better, and the stuff in ALL CAPS AND BOLD are best. For example:

Taste: Salty
Weight: medium
Volume: moderate
Technique: fry

cheese: fontina, Parmesan
....(many more)
pepper, black

It is incredible! Often at the bottom of a column you will get a full combination recommendation and even it will tell you what to avoid. Throughout the book there are snippets from chefs from top restaurants about the ingredient, what they do with them, why.... everything. If you love to cook, and especially love to do it for crowds and be creative, I fully recommend you purchase this book. Hardcover retails at $38.00 and digital versions are available for $16.99 via iBooks and others.

Hint: This makes an excellent gift.