My husband and I love to cook. Well, usually he cooks and I bake. As the weather turns colder, we have taken out our cookbooks to search for autumn recipes: hearty stews and soups and lots of winter squash and kale. This past weekend, we organized our spice rack and restocked it in preparation for the cooking that is to come. Because of that, today’s recommended reading is brought to you by SPICE:
- Fiction: The Mistress of Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Tilo, an immortal young woman in an old woman’s body, owns a shop in Oakland, California, where she sells much more than cinnamon and fennel. Her almost spiritual calling as a “mistress” grants her fragile access to the dreams and worries of those who frequent her store—for better or worse. She knows which spices will help heal or give courage, but position, she must remain emotionally detached for the spices to work their magic, Having her own love is completely against the rules. Longlisted for the Women’s Price for Fiction, The Mistress of Spices is a tale of joy and sorrow and will appeal to readers who enjoyed Like Water for Chocolate.
- Non-fiction: Spice: The History of a Temptation by Jack Turner
Magellan, Vasco da Gama, and Columbus all set sail in search of spices, and on their quest charted the first circumnavigation of the globe, sailed around the Horn of Africa, and “discovered” America. In this book, the history of the spice trade is through the intimate human impulses that inspired and drove it. It is an exploration of the centuries-old desire for spice in food, in medicine, in magic, in religion, and in sex—and of the allure of forbidden fruit lingering in the scents of cinnamon, pepper, ginger, nutmeg, mace, and clove. It captures the pleasure of spice not only at the table but in every part of life.
- Classic: The Land of Spices by Kate O’Brien
Behind the high, closed walls of a convent in the Irish countryside, the lives of its inhabitants are gently marked by the daily rituals of spiritual life. Watching over Anna, her sensitive and poetic young charge, the Mother Superior revisits her childhood relationship with her father. As Anna develops from a six-year-old to a scholarship candidate, Helen comes to understand her own heart and makes peace with her past.
- For the kids: Skippyjon Jones: Lost in Spice by Judy Schachner
Everyone knows that the planet Mars is red because it is covered in spicy red pepper. To prove it, Skippy is off on a crazy trip to outer space. His new adventure is packed with witty wordplay and hilarious events, guaranteed to entertain the little ones.