If Alton Brown would write a book about cocktails, it would be something like this. At least, it would be as thorough this book is.
If you enjoy alcohol on any level, buy and read this book. It is packed with facts and recipes.
Two points I’m taking away from this:
Sugar: Apparently, the source for the Brits taking their tea without sugar began in the end of the 18th century as a protest against the slave trade. The poet, Robert Southey, spoke of tea as “the blood-sweetened beverage,” and Sir William Fox urged the tea drinker to “As he sweetens his tea, let him…say as he truly may, this lump cost the poor slave a groan, and this a bloody stroke with a cartwhip.”
Vanilla: Vanilla is a lot more complicated to produce than I had known. First of all, it’s the second most expensive spice after saffron. Also, you don’t actually taste vanilla until it’s actually cured, a complicated process. So it only makes you wonder what other wonderful spices we don’t know about because there weren’t any happy accidents with them. Finally, flowering normally occurs every spring, and without pollination, the blossom wilts and falls, and no vanilla bean can grow. Each flower must be hand-pollinated within 12 hours of opening.
Just a small taste. Get this book and enjoy!