Monday, March 14, 2022

Book Review: The Flavor Bible

Do you love to tweak recipes? Create recipes? Love the tried and true family recipes, but sometimes you are in the mood to modify the recipes? Maybe add a little X with a little Y and see what happens?

The Flavor Bible is for you! And I wish I had found this book earlier in my recipe tweaking career (though don't we all have recipes which need NO tweaking! and mine are usually from Grandma!)  However, The Flavor Bible by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg is a wonderful resource for recipe creators and tweakers of all talents and cooking levels.

the flavor bible book cover

Wow! Now that is a mouthful! But do not be put off by the title. Described as an "empowerment tool" in laymans' terms this book deep dives into ingredients and suggests pairings. I am a self taught cook and while certain ingredients I know from experience pair well I have found when I want to create or tweak a recipe my knowledge is lacking. 

For the I usually use X ingredient in this recipe and X ingredient is no where to be found in the kitchen and it is midnight ... now what? Before you cruise on over to google this book will have your answer! For the I love this dish, but I'd love to tweak it - but with ??? Sweet, savory, herbs or spices this book will have a wealth of ideas.

Organization Of The Book

The Flavor Bible

Clean, clear, concise and to the point! The book is organized by ingredient first which makes looking for pairing so much quicker and easier. The related tips, suggestion and stories regarding that specific ingredient are then included in the same area. Very reader friendly and intuitive.

The Tips and The Stories

The book is full of gems of stories from renowned chefs as well as useful culinary tips that any chef or cook can appreciate and use. The stories bring the reader into the lives of the chefs at different phases of their career in different locales and restaurants.

The Holy Grail Of Pairings

While the book is full of possible and/or suggested pairings there are a few designated pairing denoted with caps and bold letters which are the "holy grail" to use the authors' words. These pairing have received the most votes by the panel of experts.

This is very helpful if you are not in the mood to do major recipe tweaking, are time challenged or prefer to begin recipe creating with the tried and true to build upon. I find it is easy to build flavors by beginning with pairings that will work when using ingredients for the first time.

The intent of the book is to spark your creativity and be a helpful resource; the book succeeds on both levels and I can see why this book was named on the Th Best Cookbooks in the World of the last 100 years list.

The Flavor Bible also won a James Beard award in 2009, yes that James Beard award! Not a chef, not a restaurant, a book!

Highly Recommend

I highly recommend The Flavor Bible! I consider this book a must and wish I had found it earlier in my recipe tweaking career. A great gift for anyone who likes to cook with a little creativity!

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


  1. This book sounds perfect for my daughter, who loves to 'tweak' recipes, as you say. She's always trying out different things and loves a variety of flavors. Terrific recommendation, Tracey.

  2. Oh thank you for this recommendation. I have a few "foodies" in my family and sometimes they are really hard to buy gifts for. This book would be a welcome addition to their own "cookbook" collections I'm sure. Thanks Tracey for this timely book review.

  3. Wow!! this seems like a great resource to have handy. I love love playing around and trying different flavors for recipes. Like you I have no idea what I'm doing and always hope for the best. This book is certainly something that I need. Thanks for the recommendation!

  4. I’ve been cooking, baking, tweaking and reimagining recipes since I was a kid, so I’m sure I would love this book! Thanks so much for the great review and recommendation.

  5. This sounds like a great book. I will have to check it out.

  6. It sounds like a book that should be in every kitchen! It is quite annoying when I am trying to cook, or bake, something and find I am missing a specific ingredient (buttermilk comes to mind) and need a quick substitute. It would also be fun to play with a few "alternates" to see if they improve the original recipe.

  7. I am not good in the kitchen and not very adventurous. But I can think of 2 people in my life who cook from scratch and who love to cook with a variety of flavors. This would make great gifts! Thank you for the review.

  8. My son, who loves to cook (mind you he hasn't been doing it lately) purchased this book - he loves it - a lot of terrific tips and guidance. I really need to take a break and browse through it since it's in our house already.


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