This book is a significant treatment of herbs and spices as important agents of flavor that have a noticeable impact on the complexity and enjoyment of food. Claiborne extols the virtues of freshly ground spices and vibrantly green herbs—a helpful hint that the quality of ingredients impacts taste. His approach stands out in an era when convenience foods had become ubiquitous in the US and reinforces the notion that public reception to new and adventurous dishes was growing.
Brief but useful headnotes on the herbs, spices, and allied flavorings precede each chapter; a number of recipes that illustrate the uses of these ingredients follow. You’ll find Indonesian pork satay or tandoori chicken in the chapter on coriander, rum chocolate pie or dauphin potatoes au gratin for nutmeg, baba ghanouj or benne wafers for sesame, and eels in green sauce for sorrel. An impressive range.
This enduring work, originally titled An Herb and Spice Book, went through two later revisions—when the title was changed to Cooking with Herbs and Spices—one in 1970 then another in 1984. Our copy is of the 1970 printing and is signed by Claiborne, inscribed to a previous owner. It is in Very Good condition with a light, easily missed stain to the fore edge and another on the rear free endpaper. The head of the clothbound spine is just starting to fray and soften. The jacket is Very Good, intact, and showing light wear at the head of the spine and around the corners.