I’ve mentioned before that one of the projects my mom worked on off and on was a cookbook. Her idea was to create a book that was less individual recipes and more a way to put together building blocks of ingredients so that novice cooks would feel more comfortable experimenting in the kitchen. She thought that if she could help people understand what flavors complimented each other they might become more adventurous when cooking and eating.
For Christmas I got a book that is the closest thing I’ve seen to my mom’s vision of an exhaustive list of ingredients and flavors that go well with each other. There isn’t a single recipe in the book, just lists of ingredients, cuisines, spices and seasonings that have been profiled and summarized to specific key aspects that will help every cook learn how to create their own dishes and showcase compatible flavors.
The Flavor Bible by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg is well worth checking out, especially if you want to improve your cooking chops.