The Vegetarian Flavor Bible by Karen Page is a mega guide to the essence of ingredients. And while the book has already received countless accolades for ‘Best Cookbook,’ it offers far more depth and utility than most recipe-centric cookbooks.
Rather than being organized by course, season or region, the majority of this informative book is alphabetical, containing profiles of hundreds of ingredients, mostly plant-based. From apricots to za’atar, you’ll learn about their essence and application, meaning you’ll understand exactly how and where to use them. Each comprehensive entry describes key aspects like season, flavor profile, nutrition, cooking techniques, tips and flavor affinities.
One one level, The Vegetarian Flavor Bible addresses a practical need. As I develop recipes, I’m always looked for new sources of inspiration to create interesting food pairings. Like most of us, I get a bit stuck in my ways with cooking, and this robust book provides a way to quickly generate ideas and inspiration for dishes based on a single ingredient. Ever wonder what seasoning to use on your parsnips? You’ll easily find its botanical relatives like caraway, dill and parsley. Or, try a suggested combination like parsnips with cumin and orange. The Vegetarian Flavor Bible, while encyclopedic, is simple and useful.
And yet, the book is so much more than a utilitarian 554-page guide to ingredients. It also presents a fascinating history of vegetarianism and discussion of flavor perceptions, compatibilities and how to maximize tastes in vegetarian foods. Any reader, vegan, vegetarian or omnivore will recognize the depth and delight of cooking with vegetables.
I’m thrilled that Page and her husband Andrew Dornenburg’s thoughtful and sweeping approach to culinary topics has made its way to vegetables. My admiration for the couple’s work goes way back. Their book, Becoming a Chef, was required reading in my culinary program and has given countless chefs (and the food-obsessed public) a fascinating look inside the cooking profession. Then, as my interest in wines evolved, I enjoyed their What to Drink with What You Eat, an award-winning book about pairing food and beverages.
While The Vegetarian Flavor Bible is vegetarian, not vegan, and animal milk, egg and cheese products are referenced in the book, they are the minority. And numerous sections (e.g. ‘Vegan Egg Substitutes’) speak directly to vegans. As a committed vegan, I don’t feel constrained or limited by the information in this book. Instead it demonstrates that it’s just as simple to go vegan as it is to become vegetarian.
In fact, Page and Dornenburg themselves have been transitioning to a vegetarian diet, and this year elected to try out veganism for the month of January. As chefs and food experts, they know as well as anyone how going vegetarian and ultimately vegan, serves our enjoyment, ethics and well-being. The Vegetarian Flavor Bible offers endless practical applications while shining a light on vegetables and the power of plant-based cuisine.
One lucky winner will receive a copy of The Vegetarian Flavor Bible by Karen Page! To enter, simply click on the giveaway below to input your contact information. Then leave a comment below this blog post and share your favorite ingredients to flavor foods. Good luck!
- The giveaway entry period begins 12:00am January 18, 2015 ET and ends 12:00am January 26, 2015 ET. (Sorry, US residents only).
- To enter, click on the Rafflecopter badge above to enter your name and email. Then leave a comment on this post below about your favorite ways to flavor foods.
- One winner will be drawn at random and will be notified by email. The winner must respond within 48 hours with their mailing address to claim their prize. Otherwise, another winner will be selected at random.
- The winner will receive a copy of The Vegetarian Flavor Bible by Karen Page
- The book will be shipped to the winner by the publisher