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.

Chilesdearbol

Draft Book Synopsis

The chili pepper. Today, the world’s most popular spice, a powerful ingredient that not only makes food flavorful, but defines cultures around the world. Originally from modern-day South America, in the 15th century, it spread around the globe and, in just a few decades and was adopted as an integral part of many global cuisines. Think of Indian curry, Korean gochujang, Indonesian sambal, Thai chili paste. It’s impossible to imagine any of these cultures without the chili pepper, yet, it has only been part of their cuisine for a few centuries.

In A Spicy Quest, chili-lover and global journalist Nithin Coca takes readers around the world to answer a seemingly simple question: how did chilies spread around the world and became adopted in so many deliciously diverse ways so quickly? The vivid journey starts alongside the chili’s wild origin in the highlands of South America, to its domestication in Mexico, and then on the 15th and 16th century trade routes that took the chili to countries like India, Indonesia, Korea which would truly embrace it’s power. The most amazing thing is that, today, the chilies has become the spice king even in America, where hot sauce is one of our fastest growing industries and spicy food a top culinary trend.

A Spicy Quest is a story about how food we eat defines and connects us, through the power of the mighty, spicy, chili pepper.

Contact Us


By Mail:

Nithin Coca
2323 Broadway
Oakland, CA 93117

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