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PRG Book Club: The Spice Bible

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General Manager, Raul Mandujano, from
Centro Cocina Mexicana recommends:

The Spice Bible
by Jane Lawson

Why are you recommending this book?
It is an excellent book that provides the reader with essential information about spices and more than 250 recipes using spices, spice mixes and spices pastes.

Who are you recommending it for?
I recommend this book to people who are involved in the food industry, from owners to servers, because it teaches us about the great world of spices.

Why did you choose to read this book?
I selected this book because it is a comprehensive guide to the history and culinary uses of 45 spices from around the globe and an extensive collection of recipes that best convey their characteristic flavors and aromas. I found that the book also provides a selection of popular spice mixes and spice pastes. The spices are presented according to the plant part from which they are derived: seeds and pods, berries and flowers, roots and barks.

What did you like the most about this book?
The author does a great job with the explanation of spices and their origins. It also provides a great selection of recipes with photos.

Book Details

Book available at: Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com

Book summary (from The Wall Street Journal):

In this hefty but concisely written book, Ms. Lawson introduces us to 45 key spices — lest we forget, spices are the crushed or powdered form of seeds, pods, berries, flowers, roots or bark — and then applies them with panache in 250 recipes. Many of the recipes are of exotic Asian, African, Mediterranean or Latin origin, but they are often surprisingly easy to produce — e.g., cardamom kulfi, a delicious, milk-based pistachio- and almond-enriched Indian alternative to ice cream. The only hard-to-find kulfi ingredient is varak, an edible silver leaf used as an ornamental topping and mercifully listed as “optional.” One may quibble over a few omissions and details. The section on “spice rubs” omits the coating of cumin, fenugreek, cayenne and garlic that is used on pastirma, that delectable Ottoman take on dried beef. And Ms. Lawson uses veal in her goulash where Hungarian purists would insist on beef or, in the case of Transylvanian zekely goulash, pork. But most of her recipes — such as poached pears in saffron syrup, Singapore black pepper crab and tamarind beef — are as rich in authentic flavor as the book’s beautiful color photos are mouth-watering to look at.