The Book

The goal of this project is to publish a mass-market, non-fiction narrative in the style of best-selling books such as Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky and Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan.

The tentative title is Chilies: A Spicy Quest – part travelogue, part historical analysis, written for an audience with little or no knowledge of chili pepper history and culture. Readers will join me as I visits exotic locales, interweaving stories about the chilies global spread and history, while enlightening the text with vivid images of cultures, and, of course, delicious food. By using travel as a lens to tell the story of the chili pepper, A Spicy Quest will be a lively, readable text for all levels of readers to enjoy.

Seeking publishers

This book has great potential. Chili peppers are the world’s most popular spice, with a fervent following that can only be compared to that of Coffee, Tea, or Chocolate. All three of those foods have recent, popular books about their history. Chilies do not. There is an engaged, large, audience interested in the chili pepper’s story.

This site and its corresponding social media channels will be an interactive promotional tool for the book. A Spicy Quest has global potential, as vast populations in rapidly developing countries are chili lovers. Several will be featured in this book, such as India and Indonesia, and there is potential to include other countries cuisine (for example, Sichuan food from China) in specific editions to appeal to local audiences and tastes.

The book will be finished approximately 4-5 months after the conclusion of my field research, which is dependent on funding. The sooner I get a confirmed publisher, the faster I can finish my research and have the book finalized and ready for eager audiences.

If you are interested in representing or publishing this book, want to see my full proposal, or have any questions, contact me using the form below and I’ll get back to you quickly.


Draft Book Synopsis

This is the story of the chili pepper, a fiery fruit with the incredible power not only to make food have amazing strength, but to define cultural identity. Originally from modern-day South America, it has become a symbol around the world in vastly different ways. Think of Indian curry, Korean gochujang (fermented chilies), Indonesian sambal (chili/garlic sauce), Thai chili paste. It has become, today, nearly impossible to imagine many of these cultures without the chili, yet, it has only been part of their cuisine for a few centuries.

Yet, the story of how this happened has never been told. How did the chili spread around the world and become adopted in such incredibly diverse ways. How did it begin to cultural identity. What existed before the chili in places like India, Indonesia, South Korea, and Thailand? There is also the story about those places that didn’t adopt the chili – for example, Japan, Spain, or Britain, despite their proximity to trade or places that did, and why the chili is making inroads there today. The story of the chili is a story about humanity and culture in its most basic form – the food we put in our mouth.

Though the eyes (and mouth) of writer, traveler, and chili lover Nithin Coca, this part travelogue, part cultural history, part culinary story, A Spicy Quest will entertain and show you how the food we eat defines and connects us, and the amazing story of how that happened.

Contact Nithin

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By Mail:

Nithin Coca
2323 Broadway
Oakland, CA 93117

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