Yes, we chose our Cookbook of the Week, Mighty Spice: Fast, Fresh and Vibrant Dishes Using No More than 5 Spices for Each Recipe, in part for the publisher's legal disclaimer (more on that later). It waives them not only from potential recipe disasters but also includes medical warnings (?!). Keep in mind this is not a pot cookbook or a cocktail book, where perhaps one could argue that a legal disclaimer is warranted (though we have yet to see one). This is an everyday cookbook.
But we also chose Mighty Spice this week simply because it's an enticing book with recipes we'd actually make, despite those Sandra Lee-like promises of fast, limited ingredient meals (fresh spices like garlic, not just dried, are included in that 5 ingredient max). The book includes former British spice purveyor John Gregory-Smith's reinvented takes on things like a curry you might find on the streets of Cambodia, as he did (here, mixed vegetables with lemongrass-coriander curry paste).
Other recipes include a simple salmon in a coconut and lemongrass curry sauce, sticky Szechuan pork with sesame seeds, charred eggplants with Indian spices (turmeric, garam masala, coriander, cilantro) and a pineapple-mango-papaya fruit salad livened up with a star anise-cinnamon-lime juice dressing. You get the idea. After reading the acknowledgements, in which Gregory-Smith thanks the families in Sri Lanka, Beirut and Bangkok for giving him a place to crash, we just wish he had included recipe introductions to tell us about the lineage of each. A minor issue, as we still love the weeknight cooking-friendly aspect of this book, something most of us could stand to spice up on any given Monday.
It's publisher Duncan Baird's legal disclaimer that has us scratching our head each time we flip past it. Unfortunately, the disclaimer is printed front and center on the same page as the author's dedication, so we get the appetite-killing pleasure of reading our legal rights every time we open the book. Sure, it was probably only a matter of time until publishers decided they, too, best protect themselves from lawsuit-happy Americans, but are we really to the point that a light, lovely homemade pot of star anise-lemongrass chicken requires a prescription drug check-with-your-doctor health warning?
These are hardly Paula Deen-type double fried doughnut recipes (actually, come to think of it, it might not be a bad idea for her publisher to consider a similar legal disclaimer from here on out).
And so we leave you with the publisher's note, and -- How could we resist? -- a recipe. On second thought, this time around we'll let the folks over at Bon Appétit offer up that Lebanese lemon vanilla cake, which does look pretty fantastic. We're not sure we want the legal responsibility.
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Publisher's Note: While every care has been taken in compiling the recipes for this book, Duncan Baird Publishers, or any other persons who have been involved in working on this publication, cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions, inadvertent or not, that may be found in the recipes or text, nor for any problems that may arise as a result of preparing one of these recipes. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding or have any special dietary requirements or medical conditions, it is advisable to consult a medical professional before following any of the recipes contained in this book.
More from Jenn Garbee @eathistory + eathistory.com