Revelation can be sometimes a dish of tandoor.
The Book of Spice: From Anise to Zedoary written by John O' Connell and published by Pegasus Books, is a remarkable, colored, delicious i intense, persistent book as only a spice can be, and the product of a love started thanks to...Aunt Sheila.
For O'Connell passion for spices started thanks to his Irish Aunt Sheila (not blood related but a close friend of his mom and children affectionate to her) some decades ago and yes, that tandoor dish he ate during a pic-nic at Hyde Park when he was still 8-9 years changed his life forever.
Aunt Sheila was incredibly intelligent. An Irish lady with great potentialities. Aunt Sheila was in grade to change the culinary destiny and...palate of this still little boy forever.
A new world as a revelation appeared in front of little John. An open door still hermetically closed abruptly opened and ready for him to be discovered. Indian food, spices, spicy food. What a colored experience, what a full immersion in history, customs, traditions, dishes of exotic, distant, sunny lands still unexplored.
O'Connell tells that the experience lived with aunt Sheila 30 years ago changed the way he would have lived food later, the way of cooking it, and what to eat.
The use of spices is old. Old enough to re-call the old Egyptians and the use they did of spices, or the Crusades, that brought to Italy, thanks also at the presence in Sicily and Spain of Arabs various spices.
But..what is a spice? A spice is not a herb although it's curative like a herb, but it's a part of a plant or bush. It can be the root, the seeds of a plant. A part of a whole able to give more taste to our dishes.
In the past also remarkable men fell in love for spices.
Spices meant intestine wars for trying to bring them to Europe at some point but the author is more than sure that maybe without these fights, and without this competition and without spices, Europe maybe would have never known any kind of Renaissance. At that time spices were truly expensive and they couldn't be used by common people.
Columbus, Magellan discovering the America and most of the world brought new spices in Europe as well.
Many book recommendations if you are a spicy-lover and tales and legends, propriety, history of many known and less known spices analyzed one-by-one. The most beautiful part because each spice has a peculiar story, recipes, remedies, legends and O'Connell is truly detailed in the reconstruction of each of them.
Every time we use a spice in fact, we use History.
Every time we use a spice we are brought in a distant part of the world, in an exotic place.
Every spice means a long History, with its legends, traditions, curative properties, and a lot of culinary dishes.
Thanks to NetGalley.com!
Anna Maria Polidori