Monday, April 5, 2010

The Chile Pepper Encyclopedia by Dave DeWitt

I've been so busy lately crooning over my chile pepper seedlings that I haven't been reading much. But I have been reading--appropriately--about chile peppers.

The Chile Pepper Encyclopedia was published in 1999, so it's a little out of date. If you weren't aware that a book about chile peppers could get out of date, you obviously weren't paying attention a few years ago when the Bhut Jolokia pepper was discovered to be the hottest pepper in the world by a lot. The Bhut Jolokia isn't in The Chile Pepper Encyclopedia.

A lot of other information is, though. The book is full of trivia and facts, recipes and directions. It's fascinating to dip into, but if you're looking for something specific, it's not always easy to find. Fortunately the index is a good one, because the layout is confusing and the topics aren't always clear. For instance, if you want to look up how to dry chile peppers, you won't find that information under D for Drying. It's listed under H for Harvesting and Processing.

The entries seem well-researched and it's all interesting. There are a lot of recipes ("More than 100 Recipes!"), but it's not a cookbook at all; in fact, I find the recipes contribute a lot to the confusing layout. If I'm trying to find the entry about Tabasco sauce (under "Hot Sauce History"), I don't want to have to flip through several pages of recipes. Then again, maybe one day I'll be looking for a recipe for salsa and I can find it in The Chile Pepper Encyclopedia.

B&N link

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