Also available by the title, Spice, with a red cover featuring pictures of various spices, Science of Spice by Dr. Stuart Farrimond, presents science-based principles for combining spices. The main regions of the spice world are explored with information on their spice palette and a recipe for a characteristic spice blend. The bulk of the book is devoted to profiles of 54 spices and includes 10 innovative recipes that highlight a specific spice. An additional 11 recipes for classical dishes from around the world feature one of the traditional spice blends or sauces from the spice profile section of the book.

The spice profiles are divided into 12 flavor groups based on the flavor compound that is most important to its taste profile, for example, 3 groups are fruity aldehydes, citrus terpenes, and sulfurous compounds. The entry for each spice covers 2 full pages and includes background information on topics such as history and use, spice palette, botanical name, descriptions of the plant and different forms of the spice, region and methods of cultivation, food partners, recipes for blends, methods of releasing flavor, and the scientific basis for blending with other spices. Maps, sketches and photographs enhance the text.

Science of Spice is packed full of information and is visually very pleasing. The recipes for spice blends and suggestions for their use are particularly useful for pushing ones cooking to a new level. One of my favorite features is the tip for for releasing the flavor from each spice, Another is the Periodic Table of Spices, that is valuable for its appearance as well as its information, and would make a good wall poster if enlarged. The amount of information in the book may be overwhelming, but no one has to deal with all of it at one time. The organization of each profile allows the reader to quickly find pertinent information and put off the rest to another time. Using this book is probably a work in progress and the more you know the more you will want to know and be able to absorb.

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