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This book is a great reference on spices giving you lessons in chemistry, history, culture and cooking. It's well laid out and engaging. It's a launchpad for creativity and experimentation in the kitchen. It's an amazing compilation of spices!
A fascinating factually packed book on important spices. The large matrices on chemical compounds for spices organised and laid out in a kind of spectrum is highly helpful for me to be aware of new spices and interesting stories.
I absolutely love this book. I'm a chef so regular cook books don't interest me very much, this is far from a regular Cookbook. It is very well laid out and explains all it wants really well without getting lost in details which make it excellent for a quick reference. I especially love how it advises on different flavour combinations. I highly recommend this for any chef or homecook who wants to advance their knowledge on all things spice related.
Bear in mind that this is the same book as "Spice" from the same author, so don't bother buying both.
I have been looking for a book like this for years, so I am happy someone finally put this together. It not only covers a wide array of spices, but also the chemistry of them and how to knowingly combine them. I especially liked the historical, cultural and geographical discussion of each spice. As an extra bonus, regional recipes for each spice is included.
On the negative side: - it really should include herbs as well as spices (though some herbs are included). And dill seeds are included, but dill weed is even more popular - the heavy focus on India but total exclusion of Eastern Europe on p71 is unforgiveable - there are many factual inaccuracies (slaves didn't build the Egyptian pyramids, just one example). I didn't feel like cataloging them all, but everytime I run into one it just makes me wonder how much of the rest is also inaccurate - I like the periodic table of spices, but it needs a page number to the spice profile. Actually, I would like such a table as a poster for my kitchen, and if it included additional information (country / region of origin, ideal combinations, etc)
Overall I really like this book and it's a welcome innovative addition to the culinary sciences, and I would welcome a second edition.
Provides a periodic table of spices, with information on the origins of spices and their classification. There are even recipes to demonstrate how to use spices to complement various foods, and amplify the taste.
I saw this and the science of food book in the London science museum and was hooked!
The layout is very enticing and draws you in. Associations with different ingredients is set out clearly and has already provided me with some amazing insights. I love science and cooking, so knowing how to get the best of the flavours on offer is brilliant.
Yes, it’s probably obvious to lots of people but I love the way the “rules” of the game are set out
I wanted a book to help me blend spaces rather than rely on pre mixed. The book does that bit it's overly technical and relies on a chart to cross reference which spices are in the same group (presumably these work well together). I would have liked a bit about what doesn't work too. I don't think I will use the book as much as I had hoped. Interesting to read a little of the history of each spice but this is very brief.
Great book, very useful and interesting for both amateur cooks and for those with a bit of experience. I found few spices I never heard of before even though I am quite a "spice enthusiast". Love that there are also recipes and useful tips. Very much recommended!