by Christina Arokiasamy
(Clarkson Potter, 2008)
This is a beautifully designed book that inspired me straight into the kitchen. Arokiasamy teaches how to buy, store, and cook with the spices, herbs, and chiles that she learned about from her mother, a spice trader and caring cook from Malaysia. I especially love her make-ahead spice pastes and rubs (or “cook’s little helpers”), which are great for adding layers of flavor to simple home cooking.