The Book of Spice (Ebook)

From Anise to Zedoary

John O'Connell

A compendium of spices: the history and uses of the world's favourite flavours. Now available in paperback

Spices are rare things, at once familiar and exotic, comforting us in favourite dishes while evoking far-flung countries, Arabian souks, trade winds, colonial conquests and vast fortunes. From anise to zedoary, The Book of Spice introduces us to their properties, both medical and magical, and the fascinating stories that lie behind both kitchen staples and esoteric luxuries.

John O'Connell's bite-size chapters combine insights on history and art, religion and medicine, culture and science, richly seasoned with anecdotes and recipes. Discover why Cleopatra bathed in saffron and mare's milk, why wormwood-laced absinthe caused eighteenth-century drinkers to hallucinate and how cloves harvested in remote Indonesian islands found their way into a kitchen in ancient Syria.

Almost every kitchen contains a tin of cloves or a stick of cinnamon, almost every dish a pinch of something, whether chilli or cumin. Combining an extraordinary amount of research with a lifelong passion, this is culinary history at its most appetising. The Book of Spice is an invaluable reference and an entertaining read.

Publication date: 29/10/2015


ISBN: 9781782830887

ISBN 10 / ASIN: B0158PV7SU

Imprint: Profile Books

Subject: History & Classics

Reviews for The Book of Spice

'An extensive compendium of spices ... meticulously researched and surprising ... This book is peppered with interested stories, making it a must-read for anyone fascinated by flavour.'

 Jamie Magazine

'The Book of Spice will lift your heart, mind and taste-buds. John O'Connell's friendly yet authoritative voice delivers a fine work of history, geography, politics and "gastronomic empathy". This masterful A to Z of flavours charts human conflict and ultimate interconnectedness from the middle ages to the early twenty-first century.'

Shami Chakrabarti 

'Witty and beautifully observed'

 Daily Mail

'Fascinating and minutely researched'

Tony Turnbull The Times

'Shamelessly endearing'

Zoe Williams Guardian

'Praise for John O'Connell: 'Clever, atmospheric and elegant'

 The Times

'More than just culinary reference, this book delves into the rich history of spices and how they've helped shape the modern world. O'Connell's easy charm and flair for narrative make for an entertaining look at the seeds, roots, barks, and other plant components that today we look on as everyday flavourings but at one time started wars and launched explorers. For curious cooks, it's a good resource and a fine read.'