Book Review: Culinary Artistry by A. Dornenburg and K. Page

I picked this book up the day I got it from the library and have had trouble putting it down since. I put off school work and (yes) sleep, just so I could tuck into its pages. This book is for the food lover—for the person who wants to think about food all the time, who wants to rethink the way they cook, the way they eat, the way they order at a restaurant. This is a book about beautiful food.

Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page work systematically through the creation of food. They begin with a brief introduction to food—why cooking is an art and all the things that make it special and different. They then slowly work their way up from composing flavors to creating a cuisine, and each step is tantalizing and mouthwatering.

By the chapter on composing a menu, I was mildly overwhelmed by all of the possibilities. I had no idea how much went into the planning of a menu, let alone the development of a 'signature' cuisine. Hungry for knowledge, I literally devoured this book and all of its wonderful insights.

The highlights:
- Lots of inspirational, insightful and just plain witty quotes from world-renowned chefs
- Illustrative recipes, that have the why explained as much as the how
- A comprehensive list of flavor pals and ingredient matches
- The 'desert island lists', where numerous chefs make a list of the 10 foods they would take with them to a desert island, and why

The verdict:
Get this book! It's a little bit obvious that it was written in the 1990s, so if you're up-to-date on your food trends, it will seem behind the times. Still, it's a beautiful book about beautiful food, all about the why and the how of food as an art, not a science.


  1. Sounds like a new cookbook needs to be added to my wish list.

  2. Definitely! Although it's not really a cookbook so much as a book about food, which I personally prefer. All the food blogs have much better recipes, with exactly what you want, and often step-by-step photos (plus a chance to ask questions), so having a cookbook seems pretty obsolete these days.


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