So You Want To Be A Waiter

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

Tag Archives: curries

A World of Curries redux

I reviewed a book called The World of Curries the other day by DeWitt and Pais. Well, Dave DeWitt  wrote:

“Thanks for the plug on my out-of-print book! Your readers might like to know that an abridged version exists on my Fiery Foods & Barbecue SuperSite. Also called “A World of Curries,” there are a lot more illustrations, including food shots. See? I figured out what to do with out-of-print books–recycle, recycle”!

So, let’s give you the link (and you can bet that it’s going to be put in my Foodie blogroll as well).

http://www.fiery-foods.com/

Some might remember his Chile Pepper Magazine from over a decade ago. He also still has several books in print, one of which, The Whole Chile Book is in my queue for review. He is one of the pioneers of writing about “fiery foods”, having done it way back in the 70s.

So, go forth and patronize his web site. You’ll find scads of info on peppers, curries, BBQs – heck, virtually anything that falls in the “heat” category.

And this is a good time to remind you why I write about cookbooks on a waiter’s site. The more you know about food, flavor profiles and esoteric knowledge about various cuisines and food styles, the better prepared you will be to serve the guest. I hope that the food books that I recommend get you interested in picking some of them up to expand your food knowledge. Plus, maybe it will make your kitchen one that friends, neighbors and family come to know as the most interesting place to catch a bite to eat outside of a restaurant.

Just so you know, I only review books that are in my collection. I don’t crib from other sources or speculate about books that  I’m sure are great books until I have them in my hot, sweaty hands (although I use stock photos in most cases). In fact, when I write these short promos (I consider them as much promo as review because I want you to seek them out), I always have them in my hand for reference. Oh yeah, as DeWitt points out, some, if not many of these books are out of print. Virtually all of them can be had either used or NOS (New Old Stock) at sites like eBay, Amazon, or the many websites that specialize in used books. You can find them in your local used bookstores as well.  When an author has taken the time to move information from an out-of-print book to a commercial website, I vigorously recommend patronizing their websites because they obviously get no income from an out-of-print book.

As far as DeWitt and Pais’ book goes, despite the fact that he’s moved a lot of this information over to virtual form, I highly recommend you get a copy of the book. Just make sure that you go to his website early and often. And hell, buy stuff there.

Finally, if you want to browse through the books that I’ve highlighted, just type in cookbook in the search box and you’ll get all of them back to back. But you knew that, didn’t you?

Dave DeWitt

Dave DeWitt

Cookbook of the day – A World of Curries

A World of Curries

A World of Curries: From Bombay to Bangkok, Java to Jamaica, Exciting Cookery Featuring Fresh and Exotic Spices (Paperback)

by Dave DeWitt and Arthur Pais

  • Publisher: Little Brown & Co (P); 1st edition (March 1994)  
  • ISBN-10: 0316182249
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316182249
  • If you say “curry” to the average American, they’ll think of curry powder and curried rice or chicken. Say “curry” to a Brit and she’ll think “Indian”. Say “curry” to the average foodie and the mind wanders to Thailand and Vietnam in addition to India. But there’s a whole world of curries out there that’s just begging to be exposed. And Dave DeWitt, the famous chile pepper author-dude, is just the guy to do it, with a lot of help from Arthur Pais.

    If there’s a more comprehensive book on curries around the world, I don’t know what it might be. For instance, there’s a whole chapter just on Spice Island curries, in which they roll in most of Indonesia (Bali, Java, Malaysia, Sumatra, etc.) There are discussions and recipes of Caribbean curries, a detailed roll-call of African curries, from the well known  Saharan harissa and ras-al-hanout based dishes to the more exotic Nigerian and Ethiopian varieties of curry dishes. Fiji gets into the act and even New Zealand and Australia aren’t exempt. Obviously, there’s a lengthy discussion of Indian and Thai, and includes other neighbors such as Laos, Sri Lanka and Myanmar (formerly Burma). It includes in its recipes the main difference between Vietnamese and its close cousin Thai (the addition of potatoes/taro root/sweet potatoes in Vietnamese is one of the things that differentiate the very similar flavor profiles, although some US Pho shops seem to unfortunately take the easy way out and do bascially a Chinese curry powder verson). Cambodia is even covered.

    Hell, there are 6 pages just on the origins of the word and the various internecine arguments between cultures as to what a curry is (and isn’t). Each region gets a comprehensive history and cultural lesson that’s as complete as an Encyclopedia Britannica entry (probably more so). Lots of antique woodcuts of camels and Rajes and no photographs of dishes at all. This is pure knowledge at its best.

    Well-researched and well-written, this is the one book to own if you were to only own one book on curry.

    Indonesian chicken curry

    Indonesian Chicken Curry (Kalio Ayam)

    Photo courtesy of Dhita Beechey. See her great cooking blog, Cooking Etcetera at http://www.cookingetcetera.com/