When I first look at a cookbook, I like to flip from back to front for an overview, in reverse as it were, of what’s inside. For me, it’s more hands-on than a glance at the table of contents.
As I perform my ritual back-flip thus with Hot and Spicy: Fiery Favorites from America's Hot Spots, before anything else I am taken with the bold, colorful photos of festive fare on every other page. From the Pueblo Pastelitos to the Tortilla Soup, each picture more inviting than the next, my appetite is awakened through my eyes and I am ready to read the recipes. To my delight, not one looks too hard! But these are not all quick fixes; some of the recipes take a few hours to make, some with overnight preparation. Still, this is not a book for the advanced chef.
Don’t be misled by the title of the book, not all of the recipes bring on a sweat. The most poignant example to the contrary is the Mexican Hot Fudge Sundaes recipe, a dessert concoction delicately flavored with cinnamon and coffee. But for those of you who like to spike your taste buds, this book will not disappoint. The Arizona Jalapeno-Onion Quiche alone should tweak your fancy. “Hot peppers give bite to this Southwestern twist on a French classic.”
Helpful tips are included in a text box with most of the recipes, such as how to devein shrimp or what size pot is best. Cooking instructions are simple. Chitchat is nil.
In this book, to be sure, the pictures tell the thousand words.
 Boegehold, Lindley, Hot and Spicy: Fiery Favorites from America’s Hot Spots (New York: Smithmark Publishers, 1995) 12.