The Flavor Bible + Giveaway Winners

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on April 4, 2013


Chances are if you are a food blogger, avid home cook, or chef you might have already heard of, or even own, The Flavor Bible. I bought this book last year and I’ve been meaning to write about it for a while. I really didn’t intend for this week to be a book review week, but sometimes that’s just the way the cookie crumbles. :)

The Flavor Bible, described as “the essential guide to culinary creativity”, profiles ingredients and the corresponding herbs, spices, seasonings, etc. that pair well with each of these ingredients. As someone who has grown to love recipe creation, this book is a resource tool that I turn to when I’m looking for a nudge in the right direction. When I have an ingredient in mind that I’d like to cook with, I often look to this book for suggestions of other “compatible” ingredients that I can include in the dish.

Each ingredient details things such as peak growing season(s), botanical relatives, taste (sweet, sour, salty, bitter), the function (cooling, warming, etc), weight (is it heavy, moderate, or light feeling?), volume (is the flavor quiet, moderate, or loud?), cooking techniques, tips, and incompatible flavors to avoid. All of these are described in greater detail at the beginning of the book.


Below each main ingredient you’ll see a list (often 1/2-1 page in length) of all of the ingredients that the experts/chefs believe the food pairs well with. Bold caps indicate the most agreement among chefs. For example, carrots are said to pair exceptionally well with butter, ginger, lemon, maple syrup, orange, parsley, and sugar. Other ingredients that are said to pair well with carrots include cinnamon, coriander, dill, lime, spearmint, olive oil, parsnips, salt, tarragon, thyme, etc.

The Flavor Bible also provides specific flavor affinities or suggested pairings for many ingredients, such as:

  • carrots + cilantro + lime
  • carrots + cumin + orange
  • carrots + maple syrup + orange
  • carrots + pistachios + turnips
  • etc…


I’ve found some of the flavor affinities in this book to be quite obvious (such as tomato + basil + mozzarella), but many seem new and exciting (cinnamon + lemon + tomatoes). These flavor affinities can provide the basis or starting point for recipe creation. Just looking at the carrots + cilantro + lime combo, I immediately think of a fun take on coleslaw or a salad. For the carrots + maple syrup + orange I start to dream about carrot cupcakes with orange frosting. I love that just a few ingredients can get the creativity flowing, especially during those times when my creative spark feels zapped.

Aside from suggested pairings, there are also quotes from popular chefs about their favourite way to prepare or serve that particular ingredient. Here are a couple quotes I pulled from the book:

On Scotch:

“The combination of ginger and scotch is explosive! I think the combination of ginger and lemon is such a welcoming flavor and can take on almost any spirit. Ginger itself is one of the most compelling scents and flavors in the world. Nothing else comes close.” ~Jerri Banks, Cocktail Consultant (New York City)

On Sourness:

“Almost every dish has to have some sort of acid, or else it will taste flat. It is a question of taste – some chefs like sour, some like sweet – and there is no right or wrong. Lemon juice is used in small amounts to bring out the flavors. I use all kinds of vinegars – banyuls, red wine, rice wine, and sherry, just to name a few.” ~ David Waltuck, Chanterelle (New York City)


To be clear, this is certainly not a vegan or vegetarian book. Not even close. You will find a large amount of meat, fish, and dairy ingredients detailed throughout the book (with some photographs), but that isn’t surprising to me given it’s an all-purpose culinary reference. I skip over the ingredients that don’t apply to me, but I would obviously love to see a vegetarian or vegan version of The Flavor Bible or similar book in the future. This would allow the authors to explore even more commonly used ingredients in veg cuisine. There have been a few ingredients that I looked up and couldn’t find in the book, so while it does provide a nice starting point for common ingredients it certainly doesn’t include everything I cook with.

If you like to experiment with creating your own recipes, this book is worth checking out. My advice is to check it out at your local bookstore or library in person to see if it will be a good fit in your own kitchen!

Do you enjoy cooking and recipe development? Have you found this book, or any others, to be useful tools along the way?

UnDiet Giveaway Winners!

Thank you to everyone who entered the UnDiet giveaway! Without further ado, the winners are…

bookwinner coursewinner

1 copy of UnDiet goes to #394 – Carol E. “I’ve followed you on Facebook for ages, but I just started following you on Pinterest.”

And the winner of Meghan’s online course UnDiet Meal Prep Made Easy goes to #1512 – Jackie P. “This book looks amazing!!”

Congrats to you both! I will email you shortly to collect your information.

Let's get social! Follow Angela on Instagram @ohsheglows, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Google+

Previous Posts

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Page 2 of 2«12
Carrie @ Season It Already! April 5, 2013 at 10:27 am

I’ve never heard of this book, but because I’m into food and wine pairings, it intrigues me so!


Coco @ Opera Girl Cooks April 5, 2013 at 10:58 am

How funny, I photographed the exact same page when I made carrot ginger soup! Love the flavor bible.


Anna @ Your Healthy Place April 5, 2013 at 12:19 pm

I’ve actually never heard of this book so thanks for sharing! To be honest, I love learning about books like this but I can be bad when I get them – I’ve had From Plate to Pixel for over a year now and read maybe one chapter. I just need to have a staycation with my camera and sit down and go through it like a course!


Lorne April 5, 2013 at 2:18 pm

This books sounds like something I would love to have in my kitchen. I am glad I stopped by your blog this morning.

Have a super day!


Elizabeth April 5, 2013 at 4:32 pm

What a neat book. I had no idea anything like this existed!


Charlotte April 5, 2013 at 5:53 pm

Lucky winners! I would love a free copy but I must say it looks worth the purchase also, thank you for the review.


Amy April 5, 2013 at 6:04 pm

This is exactly the kind of reference I wish I had when I started cooking for myself last year and was basically learning how to cook. I will definitely check it out. Thanks so much for sharing!


Cassandra April 5, 2013 at 9:00 pm

Let’s write the vegan version together! :-) It’s so much fun to turn the kitchen into a lab. I love developing, testing, and editing recipes. It’s always so wild how sometimes the easiest, most basic list of ingredients winds up being the most challenging recipe to test. All about trial and error!


Melany Dalton April 6, 2013 at 3:02 am

this is the first time I hear about this book and I already like it. Congratulations for the winner! Can I buy it in Amazon?


Angela (Oh She Glows) April 7, 2013 at 7:14 pm

Yes you certainly can find it on Amazon. enjoy!


Gaz April 6, 2013 at 6:49 am

Wow, this book sounds amazing. I think it will be a wonderful gift to us :) My wife loves cooking and I have to say, I love her cooking. It is always so flavorsome.
Your review along with the comments added make this sound like an indispensable book to have in the kitchen. Wholesome, healthy recipes and flavors
Thank you for your review and congrats to the winners!


Lindsey April 6, 2013 at 9:49 am

Book looks awesome! I love some of the different flavor combinations suggested in it…

But on another kinda sorta related note: what would be a replacement for sweetened condensed milk? I have this recipe i really REALLY want to make…but it calls for the milk…any suggestions?


saniel April 6, 2013 at 12:16 pm

i have always had the problem with flavors and mixing what spice what vegetable/beans. so getting a book that will help in that area, will be great


Sarah April 7, 2013 at 8:40 am

Although I am not familiar with the Flavor Bible, I would love to check out the recipes. It is because I love to browse recipe books. I guess this book is suitable for me since it has a lot of recipe that includes meat, dairy products, etc. Perhaps it will be helpful if there will be a Flavor Bible for the vegans in the future.


Joy April 7, 2013 at 1:51 pm

Never heard of it, but it sounds like my next purchase! My favorite cookbook of all time, from which I’ve been cooking for MANY years and have veganized many recipes is Ethnic Cuisine by Elisabeth Rozin. Similar idea – she calls them “flavor principles” – but this sounds more expansive. Awesome! Thank you!! Also, just recently discovered your blog and made the pumpkin baked beans this week for my client. OUT. OF. THIS. WORLD.


Lyric April 7, 2013 at 8:57 pm

I have never heard of the flavour bible but It definitely looks like a good one. Perhaps a trip to Chapters this week will be necessary ;)


Amanda April 8, 2013 at 12:26 am

Thanks for the review! Speaking of Carrots (as that was the page pictured)…my newest flavor obsession is fresh carrot sticks and natural peanut butter!! its subtle but sooo yummy!


Sally April 8, 2013 at 7:50 am

Not to sound cliche but I love the look of this book too! The fact that so many have sung its praises makes me want it even more. Off to Amazon I go haha. Thanks for revealing it to me!


Alice | Smokin Tofu April 10, 2013 at 6:09 am

This sounds similar to the Flavour Thesaurus, which is one of my most beloved foodie texts. I love it because each entry has a recipe or anecdote to flesh out the pairing, which makes for great inspirational reading.


Charla April 11, 2013 at 3:17 pm

I love this book! I got it a few years ago as a wedding present, and decided to get one for myself as well. I use it all the time!


J. Jo April 13, 2013 at 9:11 am

Hi Angela,

Wondering if you are able to respond to your email fairly quickly? I’m curious if you are interested or know of anyone in your area or close looking for a roommate or a rental person? I’m very responsible, in my 30’s, and quiet and private. I’d LOVE to meet up sometime for lunch :) I live in South Ajax and am looking for elsewhere.
Truly, if you consider perhaps renting for 400-550 max per month for a furnished room…just amazing. I’m very health conscious though I am a work in progress. I’m a reader/writer and can give you more details about myself if you email. Very reliable and looking for something that is peaceful. Planning to start a yoga training course upon arrival in said area (anywhere in your lovely surroundings would be great). It would not be long-term, and could be month to month and you could kick me out whenever you like :) I like to keep to myself an not intrude on others space and I appreciate the same. I really treasure my “me ” time, even at meal times. PLEASE if you have family or friends or you and Eric want to make some extra cash for a few months, I’m your girl :)
Email me or let me know if I can email you :)


Diana April 15, 2013 at 11:35 pm

Hi, Angela. Thanks for the review on this book; I love reading about what others have read and recommend. I’m definitely going to buy this book as I think I will find it useful.


Ajali August 22, 2013 at 4:47 pm

Awesome! I will definitely be adding this to my amazon wishlist.


lea November 1, 2014 at 11:37 pm

I know this is an old post but I remembered you mentioned this Flavor Bible and went in search of the post. I don’t know if you are aware that the same authors have just released a new book – The Vegetarian Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity with Vegetables, Fruits, Grains, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds, and More, Based on the Wisdom of Leading American Chefs Hardcover – released Oct 14 2014. Not vegan but worth a look…. I downloaded a sample from itunes. Maybe you could review it and have another giveaway???


lea November 1, 2014 at 11:46 pm

Me again, I meant to leave the amazon link..check out “what other items do customers buy after viewing this item?” I wonder what it could be???? Hmmmmm……..

This is the author’s site:


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: