2nd Edition of The Whole Chile Pepper Book

DaveBooks, Chile PeppersLeave a Comment

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It’s been 28+ years since Little, Brown & Co. published The Whole Chile Pepper Book by Nancy Gerlach and myself. Of the ten books we wrote together, this one was by far our biggest seller, and after its publication in 1990,it stayed in print in the trade paperback edition for thirteen years. Now, it’s making a comeback! I am working on a revised, updated and greatly expanded second edition of the book because a lot has happened in the world of chiles during those 28+ years. In 1990, nobody except Trinidadians knew anything about superhot peppers, for example. New discoveries in archaeology have proven that chile peppers were one of the first New World crops to be domesticated, and the excavation of the ash-filled village of Cerén (the “American Pompeii”) in El Salvador has demonstrated the marriage of chile peppers and chocolate. During those 28+ years, I have traveled the world investigating chiles, fiery foods, and the cuisines that have developed around the pungent pods. In the New World, I took dozens of trips to Mexico, including the spicy states of Oaxaca and Yucatán. I’ve been to Jamaica six times, Trinidad & Tobago twice, and other spicy islands, including The Bahamas, U.S. Virgin islands, and Barbados. In Costa Rica I toured habanero fields in the aptly-named town of Los Chiles. In the Old World, I witnessed the curry takeover of the U.K., the surge of interest in peperoncini in Italy (five trips), and the increasingly spicy country of Spain. My wife and I took spicy culinary tours of India, South Africa, and Australia. In Asia, I tasted chile-laden dishes in Singapore, Thailand, Japan, and Malaysia. This past August I attended a chilli conference in southwest China, the largest producer of chiles in the world. In addition, there are many new chile varieties that breeders have developed, and I’ve collected dozens of new recipes. So the second edition of The Whole Chile Pepper Book will essentially be a new book, and I’m having a blast working on it. And who might be publishing it? It is currently under consideration by the University of New Mexico Press, which would be an appropriate publisher considering how important chile peppers are to the state of New Mexico. I’ll keep my readers posted about my progress on the book in this blog.