Sercarz’s NYC shop La Boîte is a paradise of spices and herbs, known not only for the quality of its goods but for the proprietor’s gift for creating remarkable blends which are sought out by the city’s leading cooks and restaurants. This handsome guide to spices (and herbs, despite the title) is eye-opening even for experienced cooks who will find ajowan right before Aleppo pepper, mahlab right before marjoram, and zedoary and zuta bringing up the pack.
Beautifully photographed and designed, The Spice Companion stands apart from other reference books because of Sercarz’s ability to evoke flavors in comparisons which can be by turns earthy and poetic. His recommendations for use include not only suggested blends with other herbs and spices but also such fundamentals as whether toasting is beneficial, what sorts of dishes might be enlivened by judicious use, and how the flavorings are used in their traditional cultures. It’s easy to fantasize about putting so many of his suggestions to use.
Color photographs throughout. Hardcover.