lowest The lowest Spice Companion: A discount Guide to the World of Spices: A Cookbook online

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Product Description

A stunning and definitive spice guide by the country’s most sought-after expert, with hundreds of fresh ideas and tips for using pantry spices, 102 never-before-published recipes for spice blends, gorgeous photography, and breathtaking botanical illustrations.

Since founding his spice shop in 2006, Lior Lev Sercarz has become the go-to source for fresh and unusual spices as well as small-batch custom blends for renowned chefs around the world. The Spice Companion communicates his expertise in a way that will change how readers cook, inspiring them to try bold new flavor combinations and make custom spice blends. For each of the 102 curated spices, Lev Sercarz provides the history and origin, information on where to buy and how to store it, five traditional cuisine pairings, three quick suggestions for use (such as adding cardamom to flavor chicken broth), and a unique spice blend recipe to highlight it in the kitchen. Sumptuous photography and botanical illustrations of each spice make this must-have resource—which also features debossing on the front cover, an orange-stained book edge, and a silver ribbon marker—as beautiful as it is informative.

Review

“If you think of spices as what’s in those jars that have been in your pantry for the last decade, think again. With Lior Lev Sercarz’s guide, you’ll want to roast and grind your own—and you’ll wonder why you never did it before! I can practically smell his amazing spice blends just reading this book.”
—Ina Garten
 
“Spices can often be the unsung heroes of the kitchen. They are given the full orchestra here, and the results are bright and loud. This is a book I’ll be reaching for often.”
—Yotam Ottolenghi
 
“No one knows spices better than Lior: no one has better ideas about how to cook with them and no one has written a spice book as exciting as this one. The Spice Companion will be my kitchen companion for years to come—bet it will be yours, too.”
—Dorie Greenspan
 
“I have known Lior for many years and have always been impressed by his understanding of how to season food to develop nuanced flavors; he is a true spice master. This book lays out his remarkable knowledge in a visually impressive and fascinating way, and I am thrilled to add it to my collection.”
—Eric Ripert
 
“Lior Lev Sercarz is more than a great chef; he’s a modern-day kitchen magician. The Spice Companion reveals his secrets in a stunning, thoughtful, and indispensable guide that at once informs, transports, and inspires. You will look at your pantry, and your next meal, in a whole new light—with an added pinch of adventure!”
—Gail Simmons 

“Sercarz is the founder of La Boîte, a New York City shop that is to spices what the Louvre is to art... His suggestions are actionable and inclusive in a way that could change the way you cook dinner tonight.”
—Food52.com

“Sercarz is more than a dealer of spices; he’s a master of capturing a scent and translating it into a reality, a skill that has been honed over a decade of experience. And in his new book,  The Spice Companion, he shares some of that wisdom.”
—TastingTable.com

“Mr. Sercarz explains how to best buy, blend, roast and store seasonings, and how spices are sanitized to be sold.”
The New York Times

One of “16 best food and beverage books of 2016” 
USA Today

“A kitchen must.”
Tastebook.com

“The Best Cookbooks for 2016: F&W Editors’ Picks”
Food & Wine

“An exuberant take on vegetables” and one of “Our Top 10 Cookbooks for 2016”
Newsday

“With his new book, ‘The Spice Companion: A Guide to the World of Spices,’ Sercarz aims to demystify the sometimes mysterious uses of spice to help home cooks bring flavors to life.”
—The Boston Globe

“Home chefs, professionals, even beer breweries look to Sercarz to pick up their flavor game. Recently penning ‘The Spice Companion’ Sercarz continues to educate and spread the word about the world of spice.”
—Fox Business

About the Author

Lior Lev Sercarz is the chef and owner of La Boîte, a destination spice shop in New York City. After attending culinary school in France, he worked for multiple Michelin-starred chefs before turning to his true passion: helping cooks everywhere embrace new flavors. His spices are sold online and in many boutiques, including ABC Carpet & Home and Eataly. He lives in New York City with his wife and their children.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

INTRODUCTION

I was born and raised on Kibbutz Dan in northern Israel. Although it was a great place to grow up as a child, food was the least exciting thing about it. The generation of Jews who escaped Europe before the war, or came after, built this country on the idea that food was purely a means of survival. Unfortunately, my kibbutz was also founded by these same eastern Europeans, who left behind many of the culinary traditions of their native homes; all I can remember from my early days is boiled, flavorless dishes—too often oversweetened or way too vinegary.

Luckily, we took trips to Kiryat Shmona, the nearest town, and Tel Aviv, where street food offered a variety of new flavors and ingredients. Keep in mind that until the early ’90s, the culinary scene in Israel, generally speaking, was as interesting as hummus in a can! The best meals were at home, and if you were lucky enough, you had a Moroccan or Persian friend who would invite you over for dinner. 

There were also interesting culinary influences from our neighbors just over the Lebanese border, only a half mile away. We shopped and ate in areas that are now part of Palestine, and there were a few Druze villages just twenty minutes north where we could enjoy freshly made falafel, grilled meats, and sweets, as well as a delicious Arabic coffee spiced with cardamom. These cultures greatly impacted our meals at home, bringing new ingredients and dishes into our limited repertoire. Today, Israel has close to seventy different ethnic groups and, in turn, access to each of their uniquely authentic cuisines. We are finally seeing a culinary revolution that is as exciting as anywhere else on the planet. Israeli cuisine has certainly come a long way.

Growing up in the Galilee did have its advantages: we were surrounded by nature. The Dan River, which flows into the Jordan, brought schools of rainbow trout, which we’d catch, stuff to the gills with wild herbs, and cook whole, simply, on the grill. Within reach were sprawling apple orchards, cornfields, and citrus groves. As kids we would venture out and fill up on everything we could pick ourselves, especially since we knew what was waiting for us back at the communal dining room for dinner. 

Still, not every dish in the kibbutz was worth avoiding. One highlight from those days was the flatbreads my friends and I would bake in makeshift dirt ovens and eat with sour labneh cheese and fragrant za’atar, a mix of sesame, sumac, thyme, and other herbs. Picking fresh thyme, oregano, or rosemary was a matter of going out into the garden or into the nearby fields where they grew wild. (To this day, I have a hard time paying for herbs packed in plastic clamshells at the supermarket.)

After we left the kibbutz, I started cooking because my mother worked late and my sisters and I needed to eat. It was that simple. She would leave ingredients and directions out on the counter, and we were on our own. Often the recipes would hail from one of my family’s different cultures—my mother’s father was Tunisian and his wife was Transylvanian. 

When I was seven, my father’s work brought us to Belgium for four years, and we would venture to nearby Paris or Holland sometimes on the weekend. We all brought a little something back from that experience—I’m just glad my mother returned to Israel with a new love of cooking and the exposure to what we considered exotic ingredients at the time. Seafood, which was not readily available in Israel—mussels and clams simply don’t thrive in the Mediterranean Sea—and pork were introduced to our dinner table. Even though kosher laws did not permit either, it was certainly a nice break from mashed chickpeas and tahini. (Was my family kosher? It depends who you ask.)

As teenagers my sisters and I had to work one day a week and half of our summer vacations at the kibbutz. For a while, I did my part by picking apples and avocados, but I mainly worked in our fish farms harvesting trout, carp, and tilapia. I think that my first spice blend was made on the banks of a large dirt fishpond. After a long day of harvesting fish, we started a small fire and cleaned a few tilapias. I remember grabbing some chile flakes, salt, paprika, garlic, and fresh za’atar leaves from our cooler and coating the fish with this impromptu mixture before grilling them. This was to become our signature fish rub for the next few years. 

When I turned nineteen, I became a sergeant in the Israeli Army to complete my mandatory military service. It was the first time I was officially in charge of a kitchen— one of my many duties during that time. After my service ended, my older sister convinced me to do some traveling. I spent the next year venturing through South America, eagerly exploring every open-air market and bazaar I came across. Seeing endless mounds of chiles, merkén spice (a blend of smoked pepper and coriander), and Chilean Chiloé berry, none of which I had encountered before, sent me on a quest to learn about their origins and how they grew. I visited family-run farms in Peru and Ecuador to watch the chile harvests and ventured to Colombia to see firsthand how cardamom was grown. 

Upon returning to Israel, I began seeing markets in an entirely new light. I loved the interaction with the vendors and the bargaining, particularly that Persian guy at Levinsky Spice Market in Tel Aviv. Each bag of spices at the market was a journey to a faraway place. Even now, I can’t begin to count how many times I walked the threeblock-long spice market looking for a new treasure.

CULINARY SCHOOL & OLIVIER ROELLINGER

My newfound passion for spices brought me to search for a job in a professional kitchen. But without any culinary school training, I couldn’t even land a job as a dishwasher. After many attempts, I was lucky to meet chef Gil Frank, who owned the Menta catering company and who loved the fact that I hadn’t been jaded by the culinary industry yet. He hired me as a sous chef and taught me some basic kitchen skills, and we spent three fantastic years working together. He encouraged me to attend culinary school, and I owe him a lot for having faith in me and for his support.

On his suggestion, I enrolled at the Institut Paul Bocuse in Lyon, France, where I would learn the techniques needed to make these ingredients come to life. During my first and second years, I had to do externships lasting six to seven months. When it was time for my second externship, one of the chefs at school who knew how fascinated I was with spices lent me a book by Olivier Roellinger. I knew nothing about him or his restaurant. I read that book twenty times in the next few days, and I couldn’t understand how this worked: a French chef in Brittany was seasoning local ingredients with exotic spices from all over the world. I always thought the French were satisfied with salt, pepper, and a sprig of fresh thyme.

I immediately sent him an application letter. It came back denied, saying they did not accept interns. So I sent a second one. To my surprise, I was accepted. I arrived there on a spring afternoon and was greeted by Olivier’s wife, Jane, who told me to place my things in the attic, where I would sleep, and to be downstairs for dinner service at five p.m. A few hours later, I found myself in a small kitchen surrounded by many types of fish, seafood, vegetables, and bags of turmeric, galangal, and curry leaves. Seeing these spices in a French kitchen was certainly a first; it took me a few days to understand what Chef Roellinger was doing.

I wanted to learn everything from him—the history and trade routes, the larger story. But Olivier, the consummate mentor, pushed me to do my own research and develop my own style. I needed to connect with spices by creating my own path, not by simply following his. I didn’t understand it at the time, but now, years later, I can only thank him for doing so. 

When I moved back to Lyon, I worked in a small restaurant where, for the first time, I was able to create my own dishes and use spices as I saw fit. The city had a large Lebanese and Armenian community, so I was fortunate enough to have access to mahlab seeds (page 178) and sumac (page 260). After three great years there, I moved to New York City in 2002, ready for change.

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4.7 out of 54.7 out of 5
385 global ratings

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Top reviews from the United States

BooksAndStuff
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Only selected spices and only those the author likes to use
Reviewed in the United States on September 24, 2019
Some interesting information on a few of the author’s favorite spices, including tomatoes, lemon peel, and orange peel. Not exhaustive. Not as comprehensive as I was looking for. Too much “I found this... I use this... when I was growing up...” I wanted more history and... See more
Some interesting information on a few of the author’s favorite spices, including tomatoes, lemon peel, and orange peel. Not exhaustive. Not as comprehensive as I was looking for. Too much “I found this... I use this... when I was growing up...” I wanted more history and uses of mores spices, not the author’s autobiography
12 people found this helpful
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misse
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
If you like to make up your own recipes then you must have this book!!
Reviewed in the United States on April 23, 2018
I have been looking for a book like this almost my whole lifetime. Everyone tells you what spices to use with what food but they don''t tell you which spices blend well together. The Spice Companion lets you know the spices that work well together. I love it enough to... See more
I have been looking for a book like this almost my whole lifetime. Everyone tells you what spices to use with what food but they don''t tell you which spices blend well together. The Spice Companion lets you know the spices that work well together. I love it enough to purchase other copies for family members.
21 people found this helpful
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Th Heaven Spices Wilson
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great read.
Reviewed in the United States on October 23, 2018
I own a spice blend company and have been creating and designing my own spices (and spice blends for chefs & restaurants,) for over 25 years. This book is a must have for any cook or chef. The book is just fabulous. Both in its appearance and content. Just a professional... See more
I own a spice blend company and have been creating and designing my own spices (and spice blends for chefs & restaurants,) for over 25 years. This book is a must have for any cook or chef. The book is just fabulous. Both in its appearance and content. Just a professional masterpiece, with no exaggeration. Good job!
13 people found this helpful
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P. Willson
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A useful book? Maybe. Inspiring book? Absolutely!
Reviewed in the United States on January 18, 2017
If a book about something I do all the time has me muttering "...I never knew that ...what an interesting idea, I want to try that ...I never would have thought of that" every couple pages, then to me it''s a very good book. I''ve been cooking and baking (pretty... See more
If a book about something I do all the time has me muttering "...I never knew that ...what an interesting idea, I want to try that ...I never would have thought of that" every couple pages, then to me it''s a very good book. I''ve been cooking and baking (pretty darn well, if I do say so) for fifty years, and while I still learn ideas and pick up recipes or techniques from new food books, it''s quite rare for any book about food to wake me up and actually inspire me to re-think. What a treat!

Lior Lev Sercarz produced a book beautiful and artistic enough that you may be tempted to think, "Just a coffee-table book." But in the deliberately spare descriptions and careful lists and suggestions lie all the directions you need to find yourself a new universe of flavors.
24 people found this helpful
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W. Gordon
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
This book is Amazing!
Reviewed in the United States on August 1, 2019
If you want to upgrade your dining experience, no matter what cuisine you follow, this is the book for you. It goes in depth into lots of different spices, though like the author says it''s not encyclopedic, so it''s missing some I''d like to have known more about (chervil)... See more
If you want to upgrade your dining experience, no matter what cuisine you follow, this is the book for you. It goes in depth into lots of different spices, though like the author says it''s not encyclopedic, so it''s missing some I''d like to have known more about (chervil) that are a bit more obscure. But not only does the book give you a good sense of spices and how to blend them, but what spices go well with each other, and what foods they accent the best.

Another word about the book''s presentation. This is a book you could easily leave on a coffee table or put in a place of honor in the kitchen. Not only is it well bound, but each page is very very well designed and beautiful on its own.

A true find, if you want to learn more about spices this is the book for you!
6 people found this helpful
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K. Herawood
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Like Bob Ross for Spices
Reviewed in the United States on February 5, 2021
I just got this book, and I am already in love. The first thing that stood out to me are the gorgeous, full-color pictures on almost every page. Lior Lev Sercarz is clearly passionate about spices, but he is in no way arrogant, despite his depth of knowledge and... See more
I just got this book, and I am already in love. The first thing that stood out to me are the gorgeous, full-color pictures on almost every page.

Lior Lev Sercarz is clearly passionate about spices, but he is in no way arrogant, despite his depth of knowledge and experience. Instead he seeks to inspire and encourage. I feel like he is the Bob Ross of spices, encouraging me to just try my hand at making blends and have fun with it. He offers great tips in a tone of voice that makes you feel like a friend is teaching you all they know about their favorite subject.

I read a review stating they thought there would be more history about each spice and they felt it was incomplete. I can sort of see that, but this isn’t a textbook on spices. It’s a super helpful guide. While there isn’t exhaustive information on every single spice, there is enough to leave you feeling informed and inspired enough to get in the kitchen and create.
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Charly
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Beautiful Way to Learn About Spices
Reviewed in the United States on January 16, 2018
This book will inspire anyone who is interested in cooking and creating more interesting meals. It has beautiful illustrations and instructions for blending spices in unique and tasty ways. The Spice Companion contains some recipes, but is not a cookbook. If you would like... See more
This book will inspire anyone who is interested in cooking and creating more interesting meals. It has beautiful illustrations and instructions for blending spices in unique and tasty ways. The Spice Companion contains some recipes, but is not a cookbook. If you would like to learn more about spices and have comprehensive information in one place, this is the book for you. I purchased it as a Christmas gift for my daughter and will be ordering another one for myself.
9 people found this helpful
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Photocelt
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I was a pretty damned good home chef before
Reviewed in the United States on November 30, 2017
This book has changed my life. I have read it from cover-to-cover and it has utterly changed the way I think about cooking and layering of flavors. I was pretty damned good home chef before, but this has upped my game. My spice collection had quadrupled and I think about... See more
This book has changed my life. I have read it from cover-to-cover and it has utterly changed the way I think about cooking and layering of flavors. I was pretty damned good home chef before, but this has upped my game. My spice collection had quadrupled and I think about spices now much differently than I did before this book came into my world.
15 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

Pat
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Spice Things Up With This Item
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 7, 2017
i''ve seen a lot of spice books, but this one is especially enjoyable. it''s well illustrated in colour, it''s terse in its descriptions and recommendations for use and it is in dictionary format, from A to Z. Couldn''t ask for more.
i''ve seen a lot of spice books, but this one is especially enjoyable. it''s well illustrated in colour, it''s terse in its descriptions and recommendations for use and it is in dictionary format, from A to Z. Couldn''t ask for more.
One person found this helpful
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Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A valuable addition to my library
Reviewed in Canada on December 15, 2016
The book is very well written and organized. The author presented a clear understanding of his intent in writing the book. I only gave it a four because I had expected information on traditional spice mixtures. Instead the author presented his own variations on ,these...See more
The book is very well written and organized. The author presented a clear understanding of his intent in writing the book. I only gave it a four because I had expected information on traditional spice mixtures. Instead the author presented his own variations on ,these mixtures. However, the information on individual spices is quite informative and well presented. So this book will become an important reference in my culinary library. The variations presented by the author will probably be of interest to those who have more experience than I do in working with spices.
The book is very well written and organized. The author presented a clear understanding of his intent in writing the book. I only gave it a four because I had expected information on traditional spice mixtures. Instead the author presented his own variations on ,these mixtures. However, the information on individual spices is quite informative and well presented. So this book will become an important reference in my culinary library. The variations presented by the author will probably be of interest to those who have more experience than I do in working with spices.
3 people found this helpful
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kindle_my_flame
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Ottima panoramica
Reviewed in Italy on September 8, 2021
La pubblicazione graficamente è molto bella, ma la parte migliore è il contenuto. C''è un''interessante introduzione generale e schede specifiche sulle singole spezie. Non è pensato per essere un''enciclopedia, non sono elencate tutte le spezie del mondo, ma per tutte quelle...See more
La pubblicazione graficamente è molto bella, ma la parte migliore è il contenuto. C''è un''interessante introduzione generale e schede specifiche sulle singole spezie. Non è pensato per essere un''enciclopedia, non sono elencate tutte le spezie del mondo, ma per tutte quelle presenti (tante) ci sono informazioni sulla coltivazione della spezia e soprattutto vari abbinamenti in cucina, sia fra spezie che con altri ingredienti e piatti. Ci sono anche accenni a ricette, senza un preciso vademecum, ma sufficienti per fare un piatto simile. L''autore è esperto di mix di spezie e per ogni spezia offre anche un''idea di mix da fare in casa. Esiste anche un comodo indice analitico non solo con le spezie, ma anche con gli ingredienti delle ricette.
La pubblicazione graficamente è molto bella, ma la parte migliore è il contenuto. C''è un''interessante introduzione generale e schede specifiche sulle singole spezie. Non è pensato per essere un''enciclopedia, non sono elencate tutte le spezie del mondo, ma per tutte quelle presenti (tante) ci sono informazioni sulla coltivazione della spezia e soprattutto vari abbinamenti in cucina, sia fra spezie che con altri ingredienti e piatti. Ci sono anche accenni a ricette, senza un preciso vademecum, ma sufficienti per fare un piatto simile. L''autore è esperto di mix di spezie e per ogni spezia offre anche un''idea di mix da fare in casa. Esiste anche un comodo indice analitico non solo con le spezie, ma anche con gli ingredienti delle ricette.
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ApplePieMaryPie
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Fantastico
Reviewed in Italy on April 5, 2019
Un libro meraviglioso, che aiuta ad orientarsi nel variegato (e mai troppo conosciuto) mondo di spezie ed erbe aromatiche.
Un libro meraviglioso, che aiuta ad orientarsi nel variegato (e mai troppo conosciuto) mondo di spezie ed erbe aromatiche.
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Cindy Kaur
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Spice book
Reviewed in Canada on September 25, 2020
I have looking through the book, and learning more spices.
I have looking through the book, and learning more spices.
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lowest The lowest Spice Companion: A discount Guide to the World of Spices: A Cookbook online

lowest The lowest Spice Companion: A discount Guide to the World of Spices: A Cookbook online

lowest The lowest Spice Companion: A discount Guide to the World of Spices: A Cookbook online

lowest The lowest Spice Companion: A discount Guide to the World of Spices: A Cookbook online

lowest The lowest Spice Companion: A discount Guide to the World of Spices: A Cookbook online

lowest The lowest Spice Companion: A discount Guide to the World of Spices: A Cookbook online

lowest The lowest Spice Companion: A discount Guide to the World of Spices: A Cookbook online

lowest The lowest Spice Companion: A discount Guide to the World of Spices: A Cookbook online

lowest The lowest Spice Companion: A discount Guide to the World of Spices: A Cookbook online

lowest The lowest Spice Companion: A discount Guide to the World of Spices: A Cookbook online

lowest The lowest Spice Companion: A discount Guide to the World of Spices: A Cookbook online

lowest The lowest Spice Companion: A discount Guide to the World of Spices: A Cookbook online