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I'm looking for a really good spice cookbook that also includes some cultural history. Any recommendations would be much appreciated.

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mainecook61 added over 2 years ago

An old and very interesting one, with good recipes, is Craig Claiborne's Cooking with Herbs and Spices. I am pretty sure it is out of print, so you'd have to troll the used bookstores online. My tattered paperback, stuck together with tape, must be 30 years old at least. It is organized by herb/spice, with an interesting little introduction for each.

SKK added over 2 years ago

Jill Norman's book is in my wish list at Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Herbs...

a Whole Foods Market Customer added over 2 years ago

I'm with SKK. Herbs & Spices: The Cook's Reference by Jill Norman is a book I turn to time and time again. I keep it right next to the stove for easy access.

jecarnahan added over 2 years ago

Thank you so much!

Sam1148 added over 2 years ago

Masala_dabba_2 "Spice" covers a wide range of cooking techniques. The above suggestions are good ones tho.

For East Indian spices get a masala dabba and a mortar and pestle.
With some basic spices for Indian cooking; you take a little spoon and go around the spice box...a bit of this/that depending mood and the season. Then toast and grind the spices put them in the center bowl to use for a couple of weeks.


Meg is a trusted home cook.

added over 2 years ago

Madhur Jaffrey has a lovely small book on cooking with Indian spices.

Summer of Eggplant added over 2 years ago

What about Hot Sour Salty Sweet?

pauljoseph added over 2 years ago

77 very good Julie Sahni "s Classic Indian Cooking [Hardcover] http://www.amazon.com/Classic...

innoabrd added over 2 years ago

Only Indian, but I think it gives a great perspective on the different, regional uses of spice in India:

Lambs' Ears and Honey added over 2 years ago

I live in Australia and this is my favourite spice reference book -
Not sure if it is available in the US, but it is a stunner!


Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 2 years ago

Anything by Jeffry Alford and Naomi Duguid (my spelling may be seriously off, sorry - it's been a seriously long day here) is the bomb. Their combined abilities to do impeccable research and to tell a story is without compare. If you might be thinking of herbs in tandem with spices, you might take a look at Summer of Eggplant's suggestion. Also, Madhur Jafrey is the doyenne of Indian cooking: http://www.amazon.com/s...

p.s. And I would trust pauljoseph's answer about anything about anything. Indian or otherwise.

amysarah added over 2 years ago

If you're interested in Middle Eastern cooking, I highly recommend Claudia Roden's New Book of Middle Eastern Food. Lots of history and culture of the area. Wonderful writer and story teller. Not specifically about spices, but she does discuss them quite a bit.


Similarly, her Book of Jewish Food is practically just as much history/stories as a cookbook.


Also, Venice and Food (great title, huh? ;-) by Sally Spector. Since Venice was for many years a huge power in the spice trade from the Far and Middle East, its traditional cuisine often uses unusual (more exotic) spices than other parts of Italy. Book has lots of fascinating history and also illustrations.



Anita is a vegan pastry chef & founder of Electric Blue Baking Co. in Brooklyn.

added over 2 years ago

The Spicy Food Lover's Bible! It is one of my favorites. Here's why:

1- interesting encylopedia style chapter with background on different spices and "hot" ingredients.
2- even MORE interesting introduction including the three (or is it 4?) theories as to why hotter countries have hotter food
3- really well done recipes including my most recent favorite- Chipotle BBQ sauce (the recipe includes beer, coffee, ketsup, molasses, and of course chipotles....all the good stuff!)
4- I love spicy food so there is always something in there I'm in the mood for!

I think this one could be just what you're looking for. All the intros to the recipes are packed with just enough interesting background in a few concise paragraphs. The 2 authors really did their research.

Panfusine added over 2 years ago

Grains greens and grated coconuts by ammini Ramachandran, Awesome essays about traditional South Indian Life & cuisine. as authentic as it gets to Traditional South Indian Fare!


pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added over 2 years ago

I'll recommend Clifford Wright's "A Mediterranean Feast" especially for the food history element. It's a pretty hefty tome.

And please, please folks stop linking to Amazon. Amazon is evil. Google's motto is "don't be evil" whereas Amazon's seems to be "be as evil as you can, worse than Darth Vader."


Meg is a trusted home cook.

added over 2 years ago

Thanks for reminding us about Amazon, pierino.


AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 2 years ago

Panfusine, I just picked up *Greens, Grains and Grated Coconut* from the library. What an interesting and helpful resource! The recipes seem fantastic, too. Thank you for mentioning it!! ;o)

bugbitten added over 2 years ago

Not sure what a spice cookbook is, but "Cooking at the Casbah" by Kitty Morse is an overnight trip to Morocco. Beautiful photos and personal experiences, too.

Panfusine added over 2 years ago

Thanks AntoniaJames!, Ammini's book was the first cookbook I reviewed on my blog & still remains my favorite.

healthierkitchen added over 2 years ago

Also, Monica Bhide has a lovely book called Modern Spice and for herbs, also check out Jerry Traunfeld's books.

lorigoldsby added over 2 years ago

I picked up a great book when Border's closed (ok, I picked up more than one...) "Purple Citrus & Sweet Perfume" by Silvena Rowe...Gorgeous recipes with very interesting combinations---I love her sauteed Monkfish with Rose Petal Salt.

MaryMaryCulinary added over 2 years ago

I've just finished reading 'Where Flavor was Born' by Andreas Viestad and really enjoyed it. It has chapters on about 14 different spices, all from the Indian Ocean spice route. It covers parts of Africa, South and East Asia. Great info and photographs.

Adam White added 11 months ago

The_spice_cookbook Here is the Cookbook you are looking for:
The SPICE COOKBOOK - Avanelle Day & Lillie Stuckey, 1964 David White Publishing Co., New York, NY. My father's.. It is the One and Only... You will love every recipe! The Illustrations are wonderful as well! btw: No skimping on the butter, salt or sugar.. go old school and enjoy!- A. White PS: Pumpkin Flan...5 Stars!

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