SPICE NOTES book cover   Spice Notes
Ian Hemphill

Cover design:Gayna Murphy, Greendot design. Cover image: Ismaelite Spice Merchants Buying Joseph (from a fifteenth century Persian manuscript)..

Dustjacket synopsis:
"The culmination of a life's work, Spice Notes is Ian Hemphill's definitive guide to culinary herbs and spices.

"Beginning with the history of this ancient trade, Ian Hemphill takes the reader on a fascinating tour through the cultures and cuisines of the spice world with evocative memories from his own extensive travels. Providing detailed information on all the herbs and spices used in today's cooking, and including over fifty blueprint recipes for inspiration, Spice Notes is a classic work for every kitchen."

About the Author:
Ian Hemphill can't remember when herbs and spices were not a part of his life. The younger son of John and Rosemary Hemphill, who pioneered Australia's love of herbs and spices in the 1950s, Ian would earn his pocket money picking herbs and remembers many a season when the family home was strewn with bunches of drying culinary produce. Ian worked with his parents for many years, managed a spice company in Singapore and was a senior manager for a multinational food company in Australia. In 1997 Ian and his wife Elizabeth opened a specialty spice shop in the Sydney suburb of Rozelle, which bears the nickname Ian has had since school days, Herbie's. Ian and Elizabeth have three grown-up daughters and in the family hands-on tradition, literally live above the shop.

First Paragraph from the Introduction:

When one grows up on a herb farm and then proceeds to spend the next 30 years working in the herb and spice industry, it is easy to assume that everyone else feels as comfortable with using herbs and spices as you do. Of course this is far from the reality and over the years I have been asked many questions, from the bizarre to the basic. What people want most is an insight into the world of spices from someone who works with these miracles of nature everyday.

In Spice Notes I have set out to give the reader 'the inside story', based on the learning and experiences I have assimilated in this ancient and stimulating industry.

It seems appropriate to begin by explaining some of the basics and sharing interesting facts that apply to all herbs and spices. Part Two looks at individual herbs and spices, in alphabetical order by common English name (to assist in looking up a reference quickly). Part Three deals with the art of combining spices. Once you have an understanding of the individual herb and spice characteristics it is a logical next step to bring surprisingly diverse flavours together to create completely unimaginable results. Because spices are so important in determining the signatures of foods from different countries, I have provided a list of the key spice flavours that are used in some of the world's most popular cuisines. I hope you will find this interesting and stimulating, and most importantly will feel that the art of using spices successfully in everyday cooking has been demystified and made more enjoyable.

From the Macmillan hardback edition, 2000.

This page and its contents are copyright © 2001-05 by Perry Middlemiss, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

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Last modified: February 1, 2005.