Readable cookbooks are not usually the same as the reliable standards I use when I need the lemon chicken recipe instantly. I know at least one other of us likes to read them, too. What are your favorites for evening reading when the kitchen is closed?
Here are my two favorites:
The Spice Cookbook by Avanelle Day and Lillie Stuckey. Cute illustrations; end papers show a map of the world spice trade routes and sources of spices. Organized around each spice (mace & nutmeg); you get stories of the spices, their uses, and when you want a ginger recipe you can find lots.
Second favorite: Mayan Cooking: Recipes from the Sun Kingdoms of Mexico by Cherry Hamman. Gobs of ingredients I never heard of (including spices). Most of the recipes have their Yucatec (a Maya language) name. One of the first is the salsa Xnipek aka "Nose of the dog." Got that name because your nose will be running after you eat it just like a dog's wet nose. That "x" at the start is a sort of "shhh" sound.