This weekend I’m going to my first-ever food blogging conference, IFBC, and I’m really excited! Anybody else going? It’s near me in Seattle, and if that doesn’t make it enough of a no-brainer, the keynote speakers Karen Page and Andrew Dornenberg are the authors of The Flavor Bible, one of my favorite cookbooks– if you can call it that– ever.
The Flavor Bible has no actual recipes, it’s more like a thesaurus of flavor. The meat of the book (yeah, I can still say that as a pescetarian) is a list of ingredients. Based on a survey of chefs, for each ingredient, other ingredients that work well in a dish with that ingredient are listed. Frequently mentioned matches are listed in big, bold text, while less frequently listed matches are listed in a smaller typeface. For example, under apple you would see obvious partners like walnuts, raisins, and rum as well as a host of less-established possibilities. It’s a great resource when you are creating recipes, for either beginning or more advanced chefs.
I’d show you a photo of a page but my copy has recently migrated to one of my sons’ kitchens (and I’m happy to help him get established as a cook in his new place). Instead, here’s a bit from one of a previous, similar book that they wrote, Culinary Artistry. I hope this will give you the idea without giving away too much of their content: they have many other associations to go with apples, and that’s just the beginning of their index.
The Flavor Bible focuses more on the flavor affinities first listed in Culinary Artistry and adds more ‘modern’ flavor associations. The Dornenbergs also have a pair of well-reviewed books on choosing wines to go with food: What to Drink with What You Eat and the more recent The Food Lover’s Guide to Wine. No doubt I will hear more about their more recent books at the conference.