4 out of 5 stars.
I would like to thank Ten Speed Press for allowing me an ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an open and honest review.
Wow, what a book. I really feel another good name for it would be ‘Heart and soul’ as I swear there was a lot of Ms Seneviratne’s heart and soul put into this book. Starting the book with such a touching and personal experience, and then beginning each new chapter with a personal story about the spices, as well as a historical tale – wonderful. I almost didn’t need the recipes that then followed… almost!
As for those recipes? Yes please! Sadly I didn’t get a chance to try any of them while reviewing the book as life (and sick kids) just got in the road. But there were more than a few recipes that I really wanted to try. I admit, due to annoying food intolerances and allergies I would need to tinker with a few, but others I could see myself jumping right into and giving a go. I can see hubby liking some of the Chocolate-dipped ginger macaroons appearing on the Christmas table this year.
Having grown up in the tropics and loving most of the spices used in this gorgeous book, it was lovely to see a cook book dedicated to showing them off to their full potential.
The general layout, formatting and pictures of ‘The New Sugar and Spice’ are clear, precise and make it an encouraging book to read and work from.
Okay, time for the very minor constructive criticism I have, as I’m sure people are wondering how I could only give 4 stars if I liked the book so much. Two things really: Firstly I found the instructions for each recipe a little too long winded. It’s probably the technical document writer in me saying this, but they would have worked better if more short, sharp and shiny. Plus the recipes would have fitted to the pages better. I freely admit this could just be me being overly pedantic – reader error rather than a flaw in the book.
The other problem I had is that the book is clearly written for an American audience, rather than an international audience. As in, I would have liked the ingredients to have also been listed in grams as well as Celsius listed in the temperatures. For me they’re not too much of a problem as I do a lot of baking, make a lot of notes (as I would do if I owned this book) and adjust the recipes to suit local measurements, etc. However, this book probably wouldn’t suit a novice baker from Australia as they might get put off by the lack of metric and Celsius. Again, this could just be me being overly picky. All the same, I couldn’t give the book 5 out of 5 stars for it, sorry.
Would I recommend this book to others? Yes I would. Despite the very minor flaws mentioned above, this is a wonderful book. The recipes are enticing and easy to follow and the stories that come with it just make it something to be shared.
Would I buy this book for myself? Yes I would… in fact, by the time you read this review I’m pretty sure I will have added it to my Amazon wish list. 😉 There are just so many recipes I want to try, am drawn to them by the stories as to why they are important enough to be in the book. Plus, they look and sound so delicious!
In summary: ‘The New Sugar and Spice’ – heart and soul – is a wonderful book. It’s a list of loving memories, great history and really tantalising recipes. As corny as it sounds, if you want to spice up your life with some baking – this would be a good book to start with.
Until next time,