Sugar & SpiceThe Credit Suisse Research Institute’s 2013 study1 “Sugar: Consumption at a Crossroads” found that 30 to 40 percent of US healthcare expenditures are for diseases directly related to the over consumption of sugar.

Even just a few spices or ethnic condiments that you can keep in your pantry can turn your mundane dishes into a culinary masterpiece. –

Marcus Samuelsson
Samantha Seneviratne is one of those rarest of cookbook writers. She doesn’t just create recipes – she tells stories. Stories of her life as the child of a first generation Sri Lankan family, about the history of the spices and herbs she cooks with, and most importantly, the history of the consumption of sugar in the US and the health issues it causes. Sugar and Spice is a cookbook, yes – but it is also a highly enjoyable book to simply sit and read for the wonderful stories she tells. Tales of her grandmother in Sri Lanka, her beloved brother, and her mother’s love of the ‘boxed mixes’ Samantha grew up on. The immigrants love of all things “American” that removed her from her grandmother’s history of a love of the land, of the nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and cardamom that grew on her property amongst the coconut palms, teak trees and frangipani, bananas and avocado, and the vines of pepper growing wild.
The recipes do use sugar, but much less than standard recipes. Instead, Samantha focuses on true flavours instead of the tasteless, over-sugared offerings so common today. Real cocoa powder, fresh ground spices, all provide a level of clarity of flavour that is a treat to all of the senses.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. I don’t even cook, though my housemate does and I can hardly wait for her to cook up some of these wonderful treats – but the stories are fascinating, making the book worth having even if you don’t cook!