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

Tag Archives: caribbean cuisine

Cookbook of the day – The Habanero Cookbook

The Habanero Cookbook

by Dave Dewitt & Nancy Gerlach

Publisher: Ten Speed Press; illustrated edition (March 1, 1995)

ISBN 10: 0898156386

ISBN 13: 978-0898156386

This book, written by famed “hot food” writers, Dave Dewitt and Nancy Gerlach, is actually outdated, even though it was written in 1995. It declares the habanero as “the hottest pepper in the world”. Those who follow this blog know that there is actually a hotter pepper, the India-based Naga Jokolia, a pepper which is twice as hot as the habanero. Also called “ghost pepper”, this little bomb of a pepper is allegedly used to make pepper spray by the Indian police.

However, this doesn’t reduce the utility of this well-written book.

The first part of the book is a comprehensive source of the history of Capsicum chinese and taxonomical information about variations within the species. Perhaps the most fascinating part of this discussion is the origins of Red Savina, considered the hottest of all of the members of the habanero family. The authors list at least 25 names for the habanero given by different locales, locales mostly found in the Caribbean but also as far-flung as Fiji.

The habanero distinguishes itself from many other chiles through the very distinct citrus and fruit notes that it displays. This gives it a depth of flavor that isn’t obscured by its intense heat.

The discussion turns at times to cultivation, crossbreeding and hot sauces as well.

And the recipes!

The recipes are well-chosen and diverse, offering a glimpse into Caribbean cooking, but it doesn’t end there. The habanero is incorporated into more generic dishes as well.

If you’re a chilehead, this book is right in your wheelhouse. It’s not an expensive volume and will expand your repertoire of “fiery foods”.

Habaneros from the Agricultural Research Service, a branch of the United States Agricultural Department

Cookbook of the day – Hot Licks


Hot Licks – Great Recipes for Making and Cooking With Hot Sauces

by – Jennifer Trainer Thompson

Publisher: Chronicle Books; 1st Printing edition (May 1, 1994)

ISBN-10: 0811805751

ISBN-13: 978-0811805759

If you love fiery foods, this is a good book to have.  From pisques and sherries (infused vinegars and rums and other alcoholic spirits used as table condiments in the Caribbean) to a few well-chosen cocktails, this volume is quite useful for the many varieties of hot sauces and condiments that you can make. There are recipes for various dishes included and the book is peppered (sorry, couldn’t resist) with facts about hot peppers that you will find useful. You’ll find a limited list of commercial hot sauces with reviews (since the book was originally written, there’s been a literal explosion of hot sauces on the market). The book is Caribbean and Southwestern-centric with nary a word on Asian and and sub-continent cuisines and this is a large gaping hole. She’s no Dave DeWitt or Mark Miller, but this is a cool little book.

It’s not the ultimate information source on peppers and hot things, but this colorful little volume will help you expand your “hot culinary vocabulary”.  It would also make a nice gift for a pepper freak as it’s fairly cheap, striking from a graphic design and fairly small. It’s a good Secret Santa gift. this book might be out of print but at the time of this posting, Amazon has at least 10 vendors with new copies under $14, including an inscribed by the author copy from the author herself (the $14 entry).


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