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Tag Archives: Dave DeWitt

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This book, written by famed “hot food” writers, Dave Dewitt and Nancy Gerlach, is actually outdated, even though it was written in 1995.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

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