What to Drink With What You Eat

Buy this book. And be happy to pay full price.

"What to Drink with What You Eat" by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page is the most comprehensive, illuminating and useful book of its type I’ve yet to come across.

What it is? We are talking about a guide for food and wine matching, very simply. But that’s the key: very simply. There are two essential parts to this book. The first is an alphabetical listing of foods from Aioli to Zucchini. Each food entry includes a list of the types of beverages that best suit the food. The second part of the book is an alphabetical list of drinks Aglianico (an Italian wine) and Ale to Whiskey and Zinfandel. Again, each entry offers a list of foods to pair with the wine.

Simple, eh? Perfectly simple

In the back of the book you’ll find the collected wisdom and advice and menus and interviews and "dessert island lists" of some of America’s most celebrated chefs and food and wine experts. This is the part of the book you’ll take to bed with you to inspire some delicious dreams.

I want to emphasize how much I really enjoy this new book.

I was contacted by the publishers not long ago and asked if I wanted to look the book over. I usually say yes to this kind of request. I find most of the time I’m disappointed or just not all that excited and the book sits around until I finish the book I’m currently engaged with or Tivo has nothing left to recommend. I received my review copy of "What to Drink with What You Eat" this afternoon…about four hours ago…and finished devouring it about ten minutes ago.

Strewn throughout the two major sections of the book are quotes from sommeliers and chefs from across the country. Most are simple advisories ("if one were to ever want to drink white wine with a steak—not that I’d recommend it—a whit Burgundy is one of the better choice. It is richer and fattier with a nice clean acidity) that kept me thumbing through the book. It’s a nice touch that keeps the reader well aware that this book is the result of the best advice the authors could get from these type of folks.

I’m a much better cook than I am sommelier. I can easily screw up pairings in such as way that is to the detriment of both the wine I’ve chosen and the food I’ve prepared. I’ve know about this problem of mine for quite some time and have compensated by usually setting out two or three different types of wine with each course when I have a dinner party.

The cool thing is…I don’t think I need to do this anymore…no matter what I’m serving.

What to Drink with What You Eat:  The definitive guide to pairing food with wine, beer, spirits, coffee, tea—even water—based on expert advice from America’s best sommeliers
By Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page
Bulfinch Press, 2006

3 Responses

  1. Joshua Zader - October 7, 2006

    Thanks for the tip. I’ve purchased a copy from Amazon, per your recommendation, and look forward to reading it.

  2. Mark - October 10, 2006

    Tom: I can’t disagree with your praise of the book’s content, but there are some sloppy errors that should’ve been caught and fixed before the book was published (Maybe we have advance copies?) References to Guigal’s Cote-Rotie La Turque, for example, as “Cote-Rotie La Turk” on page 299 and as “Cote Roti La Turk” on page 323 don’t instill me with confidence in the book’s credibility. I don’t mean to be persnickety, but for a book that is geared in part toward wine geeks, there’s no excuse for mistakes like that. Still, the content is, indeed, very worthwhile and a fun read.

  3. marisa d'vari - April 8, 2007

    Tom, I liked your review and the book. Then again, all their books are good. I wrote a review for Blogcritics specifying how the book can best be used to position oneself (if a beginner) as a savvy wine expert. It can be seen at http://www.AWineStory.com

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