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I have a helper in the kitchen. That helper's name is The Flavor Bible, and it is my trusted assistant, mentor, and companion.
Written by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenberg, The Flavor Bible is the ultimate kitchen resource. The introduction speaks to the basics of creating well-balanced food, and alphabetical index of flavors, ingredients, and cuisines follows for the next 350 pages. You can search complimentary combinations for a particular ingredient, and classic pairings are also listed for each flavor or cuisine (sardines and olive oil, squash and nutmeg, etc). Scattered throughout the book are short essays from various chefs that inspire and inform, and add depth to the subject at hand. Despite the fact that there are no photos, no actual recipes, and the layout is remarkably simple, this book is really fun to read, even if you're just sitting on the couch and not cooking anything at all. Every time I pick it up, I feel like I learn something new and get inspired to create new dishes. The thing I like about it is that it feels approachable and accessible - this is not a book that is reserved only for the most elite chef. I think it is a great way to learn about "what goes with what" and feel confident in creating recipes and seasoning your food. I'm absolutely addicted to this book.