The Taste of Conquest

The Rise and Fall of the Three Great Cities of Spice

By Michael Krondl
(Ballantine Books, Paperback, 9780345480842, 320pp.)

Publication Date: October 28, 2008

Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover, Compact Disc, Compact Disc, MP3 CD

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Description

The Taste of Conquest offers up a riveting, globe-trotting tale of unquenchable desire, fanatical religion, raw greed, fickle fashion, and mouthwatering cuisine–in short, the very stuff of which our world is made. In this engaging, enlightening, and anecdote-filled history, Michael Krondl, a noted chef turned writer and food historian, tells the story of three legendary cities–Venice, Lisbon, and Amsterdam–and how their single-minded pursuit of spice helped to make (and remake) the Western diet and set in motion the first great wave of globalization. Sharing meals and stories with Indian pepper planters, Portuguese sailors, and Venetian foodies, Krondl takes every opportunity to explore the world of long ago and sample its many flavors. Along the way, he reveals that the taste for spice of a few wealthy Europeans led to great crusades, astonishing feats of bravery, and even wholesale slaughter.

As stimulating as it is pleasurable, and filled with surprising insights, The Taste of Conquest offers a compelling perspective on how, in search of a tastier dish, the world has been transformed.


Praise for The Taste of Conquest

“An altogether rich, perfectly seasoned slice of world history.”
–The Boston Globe

“As a chef I have always been deeply intrigued by the mystique of spices. Michael Krondl’s book awakens and transports the reader into this mysterious world, showing us how our lives and history have been transformed by the sensuous odors of cardamom, nutmeg, and turmeric.”
–Gray Kunz, chef and owner of Café Gray and Grayz, co-author of The Elements of Taste

“Fascinating . . . spicy reading for food and history lovers alike.”
–Associated Press

“A delicious treat.”
–The Vancouver Sun

“Witty and erudite.”
–Financial Post

“Enticing.”
–Chicago Tribune




About the Author

Michael Krondl is a chef, food writer, and author of Around the American Table: Treasured Recipes and Food Traditions from the American Cookery Collections of the New York Public Library and The Great Little Pumpkin Cookbook. He has published articles in Good Food, Family Circle, Pleasures of Cooking, and Chocolatier, and has contributed entries to The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America. He lives in New York City.




Praise For The Taste of Conquest

Advance praise for The Taste of Conquest

“As a chef I have always been deeply intrigued by the mystique of spices. Michael Krondl’s book awakens and transports the reader into this mysterious world, showing us how our lives and history have been transformed by the sensuous odors of cardamom, nutmeg, and turmeric.”
–Gray Kunz, chef and owner of Cafe Gray and Grayz, co-author of The Elements of Taste,

“Michael Krondl’s new book on the spice trade peeks behind the usual histories of Venice, Lisbon, and Amsterdam–and tells a tale that is at once witty, informative, scholarly, and as consistently spicy as its subject. In short, it’s delicious!”
–Gary Allen, food history editor at Leite’s Culinaria and author of The Herbalist in the Kitchen

“With a dash of flair, and a pinch of humor, Michael Krondl mixes up a batch of well-researched facts to tell the story of the intriguing world of spices and their presence on the worldwide table. This is a book that every amateur cook, serious chef, foodie, or food historian should read.”
–Mary Ann Esposito, host/creator of the PBS cooking series Ciao Italia

“The Taste of Conquest is the savory story of the rise and fall of three spice-trading cities. It is filled with rich aromas and piquant tastes from the past that still resonate today. Michael Krondl serves up this aromatic tale with zest and verve. This book isn’t just for historians and spice lovers–it’s for all who love good writing and great stories.”
–Andrew F. Smith, editor of The Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink

“In common with the finest food writers–Elizabeth David, Mark Kurlansky, Anthony Bourdain–Michael Krondl shows a respect for the details of the past that never slays his appetite for the realities of food now. His love of history, travel, and food is as compelling as it is infectious.”
–Ian Kelly, author of Cooking for Kings: The Life of Antonin Careme, the First Celebrity Chef

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