Spice of Life Challenge


July 1 – December 31, 2009

Rebecca is hosting the Spice of Life Challenge to read and/or review books about food and eating our way through a good life.  I just cannot resist it! Here are the guidelines:

  • Feel free to overlap your books with any other reading challenges you have.
  • If you feel so inclined, share a favorite cookbook as well. The idea, however, is to find new favorites to fill our belly (and our minds!).
  • If you don’t have a blog, you can still join.

There are four categories:

  • Cookbooks share recipes so we can recreate delicious meals.  To count a cookbook for the challenge, share a little bit about what types of recipes it contains, any of the favorites that you may have cooked, and what you liked or not about it. You obviously don’t have to read every page of a cook book or cook every recipe.
  • Nonfiction books are about food in general, including history of any food, cooking and diet guides, and reference books. For reference books, as for cookbooks, you may not need to read every word, including those  dense ones that you will be referring to again and again. Sometimes nonfiction books are best read in small bites; keep in mind you have six months to nibble through something!
  • Memoirs, autobiographies, or essays are written by cooks or the everyday eater and are about learning to cook or about cooking or eating in general.
  • Fiction captures the significance of food in our lives by making food a main part of the story. Define this as you will: if food is important to the story, it counts!

You can join the challenge in any of three levels of participation:

  • A Taste: Joining the Spice of Life Challenge for “a taste” means that, although you love food and you love books about food, just a taste of food books will satisfy you right now. You’ll read and review just read two books from any of two of the above categories (different categories).
  • A Sampler: Joining the Spice of Life Challenge for “a sampler” means that you want to balance your food book diet with variety, for variety is the spice of life. You will read and review a book from each category for a total of four books.
  • A Feast: Joining the Spice of Life Challenge for “a feast” means that you want to fill yourself with good food books of all kinds this year! You will read and review six to eight books from at least three of the above categories.


I’ve decided to participate on THE SAMPLER level. Here are some ideas I have to fit each category:

Cookbook Category

The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters

Moosewood Restaurant New Classics, by the Moosewood Collective

Nonfiction Category

American Artisanal: Finding the Country’s Best Real Food from Cheese to Chocolate, by Rebecca Gray

Memoirs, Autobiographies or Essays Category

A Thousand Days in Tuscany, by Marlena De Blasi

Julie and Julia, by Julie Powell

Tender at the Bone, by Ruth Reichl

I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti, by Giulia Melucci

Fiction Category

The Book of Unholy Mischief, by Elle Newmark (COMPLETED August 18, 2009; rated 4/5; read my review)

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    • Kathy on July 6, 2009 at 11:12

    Good luck with the new challenges!

    • Wendy on July 8, 2009 at 06:27

    Thanks, Kathy 🙂

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