The Flavor Matrix: The Art and Science of Pairing Common Ingredients to Create Extraordinary Dishes

with Brooke Parkhurst. Houghton Harcourt. Mar. 2018. 320p. illus. index. ISBN 9780544809963. $30. COOKING
This is not your typical cookbook; in fact, readers will find few recipes here. What they will find is a fascinating collection of matrices that break down the best flavor combinations to make main ingredients shine. Featuring 150 of the most common ingredients used around the world, Briscione (director, culinary research, Inst. of Culinary Education) pares each ingredient down to its essence and proceeds to chart the variety of combinations available to produce a range of flavors from earthy to savory, floral to meaty, and everything in between. The flavors are arranged alphabetically, and span allium to vanilla. Each ingredient receives careful attention, presented beside a brief introduction and a listing of best pairings, surprising combinations, and substitutes to replicate the flavor. The "Inspiration" section breaks each element down further, presenting the science behind the flavor.
VERDICT Visually, this book is stunning, like a science text for foodies, with a particularly helpful introduction. Casual cooks may find it too scientific for practical, everyday use, but it is a treat for gourmands and food science geeks.
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