It's the perfect excuse to get better acquainted with your spice cabinet.
Part-memoir, part-primer, Christina Arokiasamy's recent cookbook, "The Spice Merchant's Daughter," opens with tales from the author's childhood in Malaysia, where she helped at her family's spice stall.
But she quickly moves the story into your kitchen, walking the reader through the basic seasonings of Southeast Asian cooking, including how to make the essential and flavorful blends, rubs and sauces.
The rest of the book is dedicated to recipes for putting those flavors to work, such as Thai shrimp and pineapple curry, or sweet-and-sour meatballs wrapped in lettuce.
It's a delicious excuse to buy all those spices.