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Customer Review

62 of 64 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing by comparison, though not too bad in itself, 23 Sept. 2008
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This review is from: The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chefs (Hardcover)
Having purchased the same authors' excellent What to Drink with What You Eat, I was excited by the prospect of getting my mitts on this new offering. However this by comparison is somewhat disappointing, though still quite useful.

Firstly, it suffers from a problem which the aforementioned work also suffered from, namely that if item A references item B, then item B does not necesarily reference item A in return. Whilst in the earlier work this was not a major problem (partly because it was on a smaller scale and also because you don't often choose the drink first then the food afterwards), here it seems to be on a larger scale. Sloppy editing.

Secondly, some "obvious" flavour combinations appear to be missing. The blurb does say that this book is designed to cover "modern" flavour combinations, whereas their earlier work Culinary Artistry (which I do not own) covers "classic" food combinations. But this current work does cover many "classic" food combinations, so why is it not more comprehensive? In order to cajole us into shelling out more dosh to get the earlier book too? (Reading the introduction where they say this book should be used in conjunction with the earlier two books, the answer is presumably "yes".) Why could they not just have updated the original book?

Thirdly, some entries are just downright lazy. For example there are a number of entries which are not specific foodstuffs, but a particular type of cuisine, e.g. Hungarian cuisine. The thought process for these kind of entries appears to be along the lines of "What Hungarian dishes do we know? Gulyás (i.e. 'goulash'). What's in that? Paprika. So, paprika must go with all Hungarian food". Really?

This book is useful up to a point, and by all means buy as a starting point for learning about flavour matching (with the proviso that you may also have to buy Culinary Artistry for completeness), but don't expect it to be fully comprehensive, or as good as What to Drink with What You Eat.

3.5 stars.

(Update 10/11/08: I have since also purchased Culinary Artistry - see my review of that. Essentially I think that there is no reason to buy that earlier book as well as it does not appear to contain any information which this book doesn't.)

(Update 12/06/10: I have since also purchased The Flavour Thesaurus - see my review of that.)
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 29 Sep 2011 11:23:08 BDT
Pixrawr says:
Just want to say your reviews have been incredibly helpful and detailed. I was wondering if you have had much luck since coming across a book with more in-depth information on the whys and hows of flavour and pairing foods. I purchased The Flavour Thesaurus and I didn't find it as fact-full on flavours as I was hoping. Surely it can't be that hard for a food expert to describe the flavours and why X and Y go well/not well together.

Anyway, thanks again for your insightful reviews.

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Oct 2011 15:16:49 BDT
E. L. Wisty says:
Sorry to say, no I haven't found anything further as yet. As I said in my review for The Flavour Thesaurus it's a vastly underdeveloped food writing genre, and with all the hundreds of samey cookbooks coming out I can't believe that more writers just aren't trying to explore such new territory.

Posted on 2 Jan 2012 13:30:34 GMT
Thanks so much for taking the time to leave such insightful reviews - you have saved me a lot of time, effort and money and your efforts are greatly appreciated. Keep up the good work! :)
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