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
(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.)