Book Report: The Vegetarian Flavor Bible

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How lucky am I to have received this book? The publicist asked me to review it for the blog. Oh my gosh!! It is brilliant in so many ways.

The author is Karen Page who wrote a book years ago called The Flavor Bible which is an award winning cookbook and is considered one of the best cookbooks ever written. It was designed to give the cook information about what foods go with what flavors so they could be creative in their own kitchen.

But a few years ago, Karen Page went plant-based after getting educated about food in the same program as me, The eCornell Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition, and realized that what prevents many people from cooking plant-based meals is a lack of knowledge about what goes with what. So here it is. The Bible! With over 500 pages and beautiful photographs taken by the author’s husband, Andrew Dornenburg, the book is an incredible resource.

35_CHARDrainbow

Photo Credit © Andrew Dornenburg

This book is perfect for me or any home cook who likes to make up their meals and not follow recipes exactly. As a reader of this blog, you know that over the years, I have developed my own little repertoire of meals that I have created based on what flavors I like and what I think goes with what. Now I am armed with an actual list of information that validates my thinking. You can turn to any page in this book and find out what goes with what.

For example, under cilantro, you can find the season (year-round), flavor (bitter, sour, sweet with notes of lemon and lime), volume (loud), what it is (an herb), it’s botanical relative (coriander, parsley) and possible substitute (parsley.)

Then there is list of flavor affinities. One that caught my eye was cliantro + carrots + lime + rice. So the other night, I sautéed a few shallots, added diced carrots, added the rice and water and cooked until the rice was done. Then. right before serving, I added fresh lime juice and chopped cilantro. Wowza, a fantastic side dish.

The book is organized into three sections. The introduction explains the macronutrients – protein, carbs and fat – and what and how to eat them. Then comes a thorough history of vegetarianism, with interviews and quotes from world renowned chefs, and a really handy “If you are craving this, try this” list from which I found out that I can pour warm brown rice syrup over popcorn and have caramel corn! That happened last night.

Then come The Lists. Flavor matching for every possible ingredient in alphabetical order. Just like any good resource book, The Vegetarian Flavor Bible has a color coded system of letters so you can find what you are looking for easily when looking at the side edge of the pages and a handy little built in bookmark.

This is a MUST HAVE book that would make a GREAT holiday gift for anyone who likes to cook!

S - SPRING  (market with carrots, herbs, and radishes)

Photo Credit © Andrew Dornenburg

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