So You Want To Be A Waiter

The best book on waiting tables that you have never read – yet

Cookbook of the day – A Matter of Taste


A Matter of Taste:  The Definitive Seasoning Cookbook

by Sylvia Windle Humphrey

The Macmillan Company (1965)

This 1965 reference book is great to have for two reasons. First, it has some cool recipes in it. But, more importantly, it describes the various herbs, spices, flavoring components and seasonings that make our food both palatable and healthy and gives you a history lesson at the same time.

It’s broken down into the following sections:

Basic Seasonings (salt sugar, honey, acids, MSG, etc.) Don’t hold it against Humphrey that she calls MSG a “super seasoning”. This book is, after all, almost 50 years old now.



Special Seasonings (anchovy, beer, mushrooms, flowers and fruits, etc.)


If your chef came up to you and asked you what the difference between a spice and an herb was, or if your guest asked you to describe cardomom or saffron, would you be able to do it? Wouldn’t it be cool to bark back at the chef, “Yes I do. Want an example? Cilantro is an herb, and its seed, coriander is a spice”. Now, you’re not going to get that from this book, because, in those days of olde,  the whole plant was called coriander. In fact, technically, it’s still called the coriander plant. It’s also called Chinese parsley but that’s neither here nor there. Generally we call the coriander plant cilantro these days, but the chef will get that you indeed know the difference.

Despite the rather dated aspect of this book, you will find this book useful, if only to have a history of the various herbs and spices.  Plus, just reading about herbs and spices should kindle your increasing thirst for knowledge, right?

It’s been out of print for a while now, but you can still find used copies on the cheap.

Amazon has something like 18 copies at the moment, ranging from a little over a dollar to around $8.

You can also find a nice clean copy for around $8 here:


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