Last year, for Christmas, all I wanted was The Flavor Bible. At long last it was mine. I find myself using the book constantly in my recipe development, and immediately ran around to friends and family spreading the gospel of it's profound necessity! It is my bible...fo' real though.
A couple months later, I discovered that Karen Page was coming out with The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. Once again, I knew I must have this book. It's life changing, you guys. If you love to cook and create unique recipes, this book will greatly expand your resource of creativity in the kitchen. Do you find yourself wondering what flavors pair best with juniper berries? Don't worry, Karen has got you covered.
With a panel of experts like, Dr. Neal Barnard (founder of Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine), Makini Howell (chef-owner of Plum Bistro), Isa Chandra Moskowitz (renowned cookbook author), and Angel Ramos (executive chef of Candle 79) weighing in, along with many others, you can rest assured this is a vast wealth of seriously sound advice.
The Vegetarian Flavor Bible begins with expanding upon what it means to eat a vegetarian diet, and the positive health, emotional, and environmental outcomes of consuming a meat-free diet. Karen discusses what carbs, proteins, fats, etc. are and where they're found, along with how to obtain essential vitamins and minerals in vegetarian fare. I found her rather expansive timeline history of vegetarianism (starting in 3000 BCE to present day!) particularly interesting. Karen also delves into the many cultures and worldly cuisines of cooking and diet, and how they relate to vegetarianism. This isn't just a cookbook. It's a brief Vegetarianism 101 class!
Besides discovering the self-explanatory, what foods/flavors pair well with other foods/flavors, this book also informs the reader about a great many other things about each food item such as:
- season of the food
- volume (whether it's loud or quiet)
- health highlights
- nutritional profile
- cooking techniques
- tips for preparing and/or serving
- botanical relatives
- possible substitutes
I don't think kelp is in the original book...I love my kelp granules. They're great if you're needing an "ocean" flavor auroa to a dish.
My very favorite part of the book are the "Flavor Affinities". These are about three to seven different foods that create utter magic when combined all together. For example, a couple flavor affinities for asparagus are as follow:
- asparagus + lemon + pecans + rice
- asparagus + couscous + orange
The work is done for you! With easy laid out food combinations, cooking is made simple and you'll know whatever you think up will turn out fabulous!
This is the most used book in my entire house. I look to it for almost every recipe. How else could I have come up with my Nutmeg Scented Roasted Sunchokes? Creativity is limitless with this bible of food pairings. The more you learn about what foods compliment each other and the flavor, volume, and season of foods the more your cooking knowledge will grow and allow you to become a better cook!
What if I already have the original flavor bible?
You might be wondering if you should acquire the vegetarian version of this book if you already have the original. My answer is a resounding, "Heck yes!" The vegetarian book is actually larger than it's non-veg counterpart. There are some of the more "veg-usual" foodlets like tofu, agar agar, goji berries, millet, etc. that just aren't in the original flavor bible.
Get your hardback or digital copy on Amazon or your local brick and mortar bookstore.