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About the Challenge | Join the Challenge

We all must eat everyday. Quantity of food may vary with our diets; holiday feasts may be rare.  The quality of the food we eat may be sporadic, depending on who’s doing the cooking. Yet variety in food is a big part of the delight!

The most delightful part of food is eating something spectacular, making good food a part of our every-day life, and (for some us) learning to cook better.

The goal of the Spice of Life Challenge is to read and/or review books about food and eating our way through a good life. It will run from July 1, 2009 until December 31, 2009 so you can include all those scrumptious summer salads, savory fall soups, and yummy holiday books that get you in the mood for turkey dinner. 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 us for the meal! Feel free to leave your thoughts about your choices in the comments on the review pages.

I’ve created four categories:

  • Cookbooks share recipes so we can recreate delicious meals. I love a good cookbook, and I’m always on the lookout for another favorite. I’d love to hear about your new discoveries! To count a cookbook for the challenge, please 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!

Note that some books will fit into multiple categories. Assign them to categories as you would like to meet your own personal challenge.

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.

If the thought of reading these books has made your mouth water, join by signing up in the comments below. You do not need to determine your books before you read them if you don’t want to, but do leave a link to your blog if you have one.

Also, feel free to add a button to your blog.

After you read and review your books, visit the review page and leave us a link so we can come and drool too.

Any questions? Ask in the comments below or send me an email at rebecca [at] rebeccareid [dot] com.

35 Comments leave one →
  1. June 26, 2009 8:42 pm

    Heck yeah! 🙂

  2. June 28, 2009 1:53 am

    I’m definitely in- I will blog about this shortly.

  3. amateurdelivre permalink
    June 28, 2009 2:41 pm

    Sign me up for the feast – how fun! I will blog about it shortly as well!

  4. Book Psmith permalink
    June 29, 2009 10:39 am

    Please sign me up. Can’t wait to get started. Here is my link…

    Thank you for hosting.

  5. June 29, 2009 12:24 pm

    This sounds like a lot of fun, sign me up for The Feast. =)

    I posted about it, with a tentative list here:

    Thank you!

  6. June 30, 2009 2:56 pm

    OK, I’m in! Probably won’t get my post written until after I get back from vacation, though.

  7. July 1, 2009 9:49 am

    Above are my book reviews. I do love to cook and eat, so I am in.

  8. July 1, 2009 2:23 pm

    I’m signing up for the feast! I created my own personal pool of books to chose from here.

  9. July 1, 2009 9:38 pm

    I’d like to join please. I will be reading mostly fiction and will have a post about the challenge posted soon. Thank you.

  10. July 2, 2009 9:51 am

    This is a great challenge idea. I hate to cook but love food and wish that I could cook better for my large family. (1 husband 4 kids) I try but I’m just not good at anything but baking! The funny thing is I love to look at cookbooks and watch food network. I’m in for a feast. I’ll pick a few books now and add more later. My post is at my blog: Although I may make a new blog just for this challenge, if I do I’ll let everyone know.

  11. July 2, 2009 10:11 am

    I set up a blog just for this challenge at
    I’ll be designing a feast!

  12. July 2, 2009 7:11 pm

    Oh, I think you have tempted me. For one thing, you are reading my mind, because I have been really into the idea of reading food books lately. I think I’ve been inspired by my sister, who just finished culinary school and is working in her first restaurant this summer.

    A copy of Julie & Julia is on its way to me, so that is a start. And I have several food-related novels that my sister has passed on to me. Fun!

    I am going to sign up for the Sampler level. I’ll come back with a link to my post after I get it up.

  13. July 4, 2009 7:29 am

    I’ve signed up for a taste and here’s my list! Tempted to do the Sampler instead, lol, but I’m trying to not overcommit on challenges. 🙂

  14. July 4, 2009 10:46 pm

    This is a great idea for a challenge. Sign me up. for the Feast. I have a collection of 450 first edition cookbooks in my living room (with 12oo other books) so I can never say that I can’t find anything to read.

  15. July 5, 2009 7:26 pm

    Hi Rebecca! I’m in for the feast. My list is here (based on my actual tbr pile excepting one):

  16. July 6, 2009 1:57 pm

    I can’t resist…sign me up! My post about the challenge is here.

  17. July 8, 2009 11:53 am

    I am in for a taste of this challenge. Off to post at

  18. July 15, 2009 11:17 am

    Does drink count (like coffee)?

  19. July 15, 2009 1:31 pm

    Jodie–Yes, books about drinks count too.

  20. July 16, 2009 12:47 pm

    I am now officially signed up. I posted my list today on Rose City Reader:

    I’ve already started two of the books. I figure the cookbook will take the longest, so I am going to read that while I read all the others.

    This is a great challenge!

  21. July 17, 2009 12:45 pm

    Cool I’m totally joining.

  22. July 24, 2009 11:33 am

    Would love to do this challenge. I have posted and linked it back to you. I will be going for the Taste Level. Have a great day!!


  23. August 22, 2009 12:32 am

    I’m joining! Hope it’s not too late. I’ve read one book since the challenge started though so I just made it official now 🙂

  24. August 22, 2009 11:10 pm

    This sounds delicious (sorry couldn’t resist!)! I am up for the challenge.

  25. August 26, 2009 2:44 pm

    I don’t no how I missed this challenge but, better late than never. I’d like to join in. I’ve always loved a good feast, so sign me up for that level. I’ll post to my blog and will be back later today to link up. I already have a food book review set up for tomorrow. I might be late but I can catch up (she said with great bravado).

  26. August 27, 2009 8:16 am

    I have my “”I’m joining” post up. It is at

  27. August 29, 2009 5:56 pm

    A great challenge based on a very creative challenge. Please sign me up for the
    “A Taste” level.

    I will read “Kitchen” by Banana Yoshimoto-


    “Memories of Philippine Kitchens” by Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan

    my posts on the challenge will be at

  28. September 11, 2009 10:17 am

    Michael from the A Few Minutes with Michael blog directed me to this challenge, perhaps because I keep adding food-related books to my TBR list! I don’t normally do challenges, but I’m going to give this one a shot at the Sampler level. My blog is Average Girl Reads at

  29. September 13, 2009 3:17 pm

    Hi, Rebecca.

    I’m in for a sampler. My joining up post can be found here.

  30. September 18, 2009 10:02 am

    I KNOW that I left a comment here last week about joining this challenge, but I guess the internet ate it :-). Anyway, here is my joining post:

  31. October 19, 2009 9:08 am

    Joining late, but in.


  1. On Your Mark, Get Set, READ! « The Spice of Life Challenge

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