Is there anything more delicious than climbing into bed with a stack of books you’ve been longing to read?
Well, maybe falling asleep on top of the books if you happen to be Nick, our very educated springer spaniel. Do you think the spice books set him to dreaming of chicken curry and voyages to the coast of India?
I spent January cleaning out our house. What a horror! But giving away almost half my clothes and winnowing the library from, oh, maybe 2,500 books to less than 2,000 has opened up a positively thrilling amount of space. The whole house feels lighter and more energetic.
What’s more, deaccessioning so many books has reminded me of the ones I truly love–Ada, The Alexandria Quartet, and The Art of Eating–that will always be the core of my personal library. (As Michael Dirda once wrote,”For a real reader to do without a personal library would be like throwing away a time machine, like waking up an amnesiac, like ceasing to dream.”)
It’s not over, of course. Right now I’m throwing out bushels of paper: 10-year-old tax receipts, disintegrating travel clippings for places that no longer exist, even shopping bags from India and Bhutan. Seriously?
In the meantime, I have a splendid collection of spice books that are yours for the asking. That’s right, it’s time for the sixth annual cookbook giveaway. This time there will also be great reads (The Taste of Conquest: The Rise and Fall of Three Great Cities of Spice [Venice, Lisbon and Amsterdam] by Frederic Krondl); spice and herb encyclopedias (Ian Hemphill’s Spice and Herb Bible, along with a DVD), and inspiration for mixologists (Tony Canigliaro’s Cocktail Laboratory).
Since there are 55 books in all, I haven’t written the usual mini-reviews. Instead, I’ve linked the titles to other places so you can get an idea of what each book is about. But I will say this: There’s not a dog in the lot (pardon me, Nick). All are fascinating books that I don’t have room to keep.
Here’s how it works: Choose 2 or 3 books and email the titles to me at spicelinesatgmaildotcom . Be sure to include your mailing address. It’s first come, first served, but I’ll try to send you at least one of your choices. Maybe more, if you’re lucky! The book(s) will reach you by snail mail at no charge—so please be patient.
Ready? Let’s go!
Spice & Food Histories, Travel Memoirs, Essays & Other Good Reads
Eating India: An Odyssey into the Food and Culture of the Land of Spices, Chitrita Banerji, 2007
Art, Culture & Cuisine: Ancient & Medieval Gastronomy, Phyllis Pray Bober, 1999.
Orchards in the Oasis: Recipes, Travels & Memories, Josceline Dimbleby, 2010.
The Art of Eating, M.F.K. Fisher’s Five Most Famous Books in One Volume: How to Cook a Wolf, Consider the Oyster, Serve It Forth, The Gastronomical Me, An Alphabet for Gourmands, 1976.
Chasing Chiles: Hot Spots Along the Pepper Trail, Kurt Michael Friese, Kraig Kraft, Gary Paul Nabhan, 2011.
The Fruit Hunters: A Story of Nature, Adventure, Commerce and Obsession, Adam Leith Gollner, 2008.
Spice Travels: A Spice Merchant’s Voyage of Discovery, Ian Hemphill, 2002.
The Taste of Conquest: The Rise and Fall of Three Great Cities of Spice, Michael Krondl, 2007.
The Great Hedge of India: The Search for the Living Barrier That Divided a People, Roxy Moxham, 2001 (A history of the infamous British Salt Tax.)
The Man Who Ate Everything, Jeffrey Steingarten, 1997. Julia Child Book Award Winner; essays mostly published in Vogue.
Cooking: The Quintessential Art, Herve This and Pierre Gagnaire, 2008. Mind-boggling.
The Spice Necklace: My Adventures in Caribbean Cooking, Eating and Island Life, Ann Vanderhoof, 2009.
Illustrated Spice and Herb Encyclopedias
The Spice and Herb Bible, Ian Hemphill with recipes by Kate Hemphill, 2006. American edition of Australian spice merchant’s classic encyclopedia.
Spices: A 3 Hour Easy to Follow Guide to Herbs & Spices, Herbie’s Spices (Ian Hemphill), DVD.
Indian Spices, A.G. Mathew, PhD, 2005.
Culinary Herbs and Spices of the World, Ben-Erik Van Wyk, 2013.
Modern Spice: Inspired Indian Flavors for the Contemporary Kitchen, Monica Bhide, 2009.
An Herb and Spice Cookbook, Craig Claiborne, 1972.
The Taste of China, Ken Hom, 1990.
A Taste of the Far East, Madhur Jaffrey, 1993.
5 Spices, 50 Dishes: Simple Indian Recipes Using Five Common Spices, Ruta Kahate, 2007.
The Exotic Kitchens of Indonesia: Recipes from the Outer Islands, Copeland Marks, 1989.
Authentic Recipes from India, Brinder Narula, Vijendra Singh, Sanjay Mulkani and Thomas John, 2004.
50 Great Curries of India, Camellia Panijabi, 2005.
El Norte: The Cuisine of Northern Mexico, James W. Peyton, 1990.
The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa, Marcus Samuelsson, 2006. James Beard Foundation Book Award Winner.
Let the Flames Begin: Tips, Techniques, and Recipes for Real Live Fire Cooking, Chris Schlesinger & John Willoughby, 2002. From The Thrill of the Grill boys.
Salsas, Sambals, Chutneys & Chowchows, Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby, 1990.
Adriana’s Spice Caravan: Cooking with Spices, Rubs and Blends from Around the World, Adriana and Rochelle Zabarkes, 2002.
Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking, Paula Wolfert, 2009.
Other Good Cookbooks
A16 Food + Wine, Nate Appleman+Shelley Lindgren, 2008. Terrific pasta & pizza recipes.
The Cookery of England (being a Collection of Recipes for Traditional Dishes of All Kinds from the Fifteenth Century to the Present Day, with Notes on Their Social and Culinary Background), Elisabeth Ayrton, 1977.
Think Like a Chef, Tom Colicchio, 2000.
Well Preserved: Small Batch Preserving for the New Cook, Mary Ann Dragan, 2009.
The A.O.C. Cookbook, Suzanne Goin, 2013.
Starting with Ingredients: Quintessential Recipes for the Way We Really Cook, Aliza Green, 2006.
Donna Hay Seasons: The Best of Donna Hay Magazine, 2009. The Australian Martha Stewart; gorgeous photos.
Cooking in the Moment: A Year of Seasonal Recipes, Andrea Reusing, 2011
Notes from the Larder: A Kitchen Diary with Recipes, Nigel Slater, 2012.
Home Made: The Ultimate Cookbook Featuring Over 200 From-Scratch Recipes, Yvette Van Boven, 2010.
The Provence Cookbook, Patricia Wells, 2004.
For the Tea Lover
Culinary Tea: More Than 150 Recipes Steeped in Tradition from Around the World, Cynthia Gold and Lise Stern, 2010.
A Proper Tea, Joanna Isles, 1987. Recipes, lovely illustrations.
The New Tea Book: A Guide to Black, Green, Herbal and Chai Tea, Sara Perry, 2001.
For the Drinker
Everyday Drinking, Kingsley Amis with an introduction by Christopher Hitchens, 2008. “Food is the curse of the drinking classes.”
The Cocktail Lab: Unraveling the Mysteries of Flavor and Aroma in Drink, with Recipes, 2012, Tony Conigliaro. Mixologists, start your centrifuges!
Libation: A Bitter Alchemy, Deirdre Heekin, 2009.