I am always excited to hear that Melissa’s Produce has produced a new cookbook, as they do a stellar job. Their cookbooks in the past have been both beautiful and informative, and this one, Melissa’s The Great Pepper Cookbook: The ultimate guide to choosing and cooking with peppers, is no different. It’s gorgeous, full color, hardcover, and I learned a ton about both choosing and using the wide variety of peppers.
I loved this graphic showing where peppers fall on the Scoville Heat Index. I had no idea there were so many peppers hotter than habaÃ±eros. We had a harvest festival back when I worked at the Chicago Botanic Garden, and the “Will You Dare?” hot pepper taste test was super popular… but might not have been if we had gone beyond habaÃ±eros.
Layout and design:
The book’s layout makes perfect sense, starting with an illustrated guide to all kinds of peppers, then prep for both fresh and dried peppers, appetizers snacks and drinks, breakfast and brunch, soups and salads, sandwiches, main dishes, side dishes, and finally desserts. I have no complaints about the type faces or the layout, the book is completely user friendly. My only suggestion would have been to include icons for gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, and low-sodium recipes to help readers with special diets.
The photography is gorgeous; nearly every recipe has been photographed. And the photos showing every single type of pepper are soooo useful.
A great variety of recipes, I have already bookmarked a few to try (with some minor renovations), like raspberry-chile chicken thighs (which I will make with another berry due to the migraine diet) and habaÃ±ero-tangerine ice cream (if I can eat oranges in the future).
What I liked about the book:
Beautiful layout, wonderful selection of recipes, incredibly educational as well. Every recipe has been analyzed, so I can see which are low-sodium without me having to adapt them.
I wasn’t so keen on:
No complaints, except the lack of icons for special diets.
Anyone seeking to eat more healthfully, as it’s a wonderful introduction to peppers; while there are gluten-free and vegetarian recipes, it’s best for people eating less-restrictive diets; some recipes are okay for low-sodium diets as written
Not recommended for:
Migraine sufferers (lots of triggers)
A note about my cookbook reviews: In the past, I tested at least three recipes from each book, snapping a photo of them, and telling you about my experience. Due to my dietary limitations (extremely-low-sodium for my Meniere’s Disease and trigger-free foods for migraine relief), it is no longer possible for me to test the recipes and do them justice. I’ll continue to review cookbooks without the recipe testing.