Bottom Line Public libraries with limited budgets will definitely want Norman's book, but Hill's engaging and entertaining guide to herbs and spices would also be an excellent addition to any library's culinary collection. --John Charles, Scottsdale P.L., AZ (Library Journal, January 15, 2005)
The Contemporary Encyclopedia of Herbs & Spices is intended to attract dustings of fenugreek and drippings of gumbo with sassafras. Tony Hill lards his book with recipes that make you want to measure out anise-hyssop and cardamom lavishly after reading one of his chapters on the origins, alternate names and significant uses for both exotic and predictable seasonings.
Hill, who did much of his research while traveling as proprietor of the World Merchants spice and tea house in Seattle, is way ahead of cookbook authors who cling to parsley in a cilantro world. With spices so widely available on the Internet, he encourages exploration, not only describing what nigella seeds are (not spawn of Lawson but an Indian flavoring) but how to use them (to bake surprisingly easy crackers for cheese). This is the book for anyone who has been lucky enough to find grains of paradise or Aleppo pepper and wonders where to go from there. (Los Angeles Times, December 5, 2004)
From the Inside Flap
Ingredients from around the world are more widely available to today's cooks than ever before, putting an international array of culinary possibilities within easy reach. An Understanding of herbs and spices is essential to making the most of this new "global Kitchen"—and Tony Hill's comprehensive, up-to-date resource is the ultimate guide to cooking with the seasonings that bring the world's cuisines to life.
In lively fashion, The Contemporary Encyclopedia of Herbs and Spices offers in-depth information on more than 350 herbs, spices, and spice blends. Entries range from familiar favorites like allspice to less familiar choices such as Kaffir limes leaves, and from American blends like Memphis-style dry rubs to more exotic seasonings such as Tunisian five-spice. Defining spice as any part of a plant that adds significant flavor—including seeds, barks, fruits, roots, leaves, stems, resins, flowers, and pods—this encyclopedia covers everything from availability to historical and botanical origins to cooking guidelines, plus more than 75 recipes that bring this colorful culinary world to life.
As acclaimed spice merchant and author Tony Hill writes, food is the passport to other cultures, and it is almost always the herbs and spices native to a region that create the "signature" taste people recognize and crave. Whether it's choosing between Allepo or maresh pepper, deciding whether to use Greek or Mexican oregano, or selecting just the right chile to turn up the heat in fresh salsa, the information in this invaluable reference will help you bring authentic flavor to any dish, no matter what its place of origin.
International in scope, with an eye toward up-to-the-minute seasonings, the encyclopedia explores the rich spectrum of herbs and spices used in cuisines all over the globe. Packed with need-to-know information, it is an invaluable tool that culinary enthusiast will turn to time and again.