This is my NEW favorite book; "The Flavor Bible - the Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chef's".
No kidding. It really is that good of a book! Even for me, who used to be known as the anti-cook!
It wasn't until I went to Chinese Medicine school that my eyes were opened to the connection between poor diet and illness. After the lights went on, I started on the path to organic food and cooking. Good health requires a person eat mostly unprocessed foods, so that usually means ya cook.
I am not yet the poster child of good cooking, or even exuberant health, but this BIBLE on flavors is like finding the mysteries of the universe in the kitchen. It is a book which shares the secrets behind different food combinations and flavors. Here are some fascinating words of wisdom in this lovely BIBLE...
"We have the lemon juice right next to the salt when we cook. Acid is the most important aspect of how a dish tastes - whether it is there as a subtle punctuation or an exclamation point!"
"If my mind is India, tamarind will be sneaking its way into the dish. When thinking of India, my inspirations are the flavors of clove, cardamom, and coriander seed. They are aromatic spices that really cut the fat of the dish, so it is not big, fat, and flabby on the palate."
"Just a pinch of spices, such as fennel, coriander, cumin, and cayenne is great for finishing a sauce. Cayenne is great if you want to raise the heat level. Adding a pinch of cayenne will bring up the flavor without making it spicey."
"A tiny bit of vanilla makes strawberries yummy! It has to be just a little because you don't want a vanilla-strawberry dessert - you want a strawberry dessert that has a little vanilla on the plate that people have to search for."
See what I mean? It's like the secret information or code you wish your mother would have passed onto you beyond just using salt and pepper.