Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, totally worn out and screaming,
"WOO HOO, what a ride!"

Friday, January 23, 2009

Review: Amazing "Cookbooks"

The Flavor Bible

by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg

The Essential guide to culinary creativity, based on the wisdom of American's most
imaginative chefs.

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.
(380 pages)

i Cakes for Kids
by Elisa Strauss with Christie Matheson

Delightful cookies, cakes and cupcakes from New York city's famed bakery.

This bright, colorful book has been put together especially with children in mind. The author, who is also a pastry chef and bakery owner, was inspired by the memories of her own childhood cakes. Every page is inviting with patterned trim and bold colors surrounding pumpkin mini-cakes, pajama cookies and a backpack cake (complete with zipper!) among many others.

There are detailed instructions along with illustrations to help you create 24 different projects that include cakes, cupcakes and cookies. from beginner to advanced level. 20 different recipes for various flavored cookies, cakes, frostings and fillings are also included. The results will make your masterpiece delicious as well as beautiful. Extras include a conversion tables, photos and explanations of equipment and decorating tools, baking terms and decorating techniques.

I enjoy baking and look forward to trying these ideas with the little people in my life. They all look too nice to eat!
(224 pages)


  1. I love both of those books, too. The Flavor Bible will come in handy, Confetti Cakes is something I look at and dream, although I plan to try out some of the recipes.

  2. That Flavor Bible sounds great! I find I get in a rut with cooking and learning something new might be a help.

  3. I was so pleasantly surprised by both of these books. I thought they were fairly typical "cookbooks" of different subjects. They definitely aren't. The Flavor Bible is like a chemistry book of what foods and flavors go with what and everything about them. The Confetti Cake book is so pretty it could be a childrens' book. I was really impressed with both of them. I had planned to give these to family members as gifts but now I'm rethinking that a bit... Maybe I'll just loan them first?? :)

  4. I would love to savor..The Flavor Bible..but my BIBLE will always be MASTERING THE ART OF FRENCH COOKING by Julia Child, et. al.. i think i own a copy of the original's an old book my dad bought for my mom...she never used it (duh??)'s in Pride of Place on my cookbook shelf..
    thanks for your Flavor recommend..i shall seek it out

  5. I love the Flavor Bible! Now if only I were a better cook!

  6. Ooooh! Both look too good to pass up!


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