The article "Who Should Have Won" by Charles Perry (May 16) gives the mistaken impression that the recent International Assn. of Culinary Professionals Cookbook Awards totally ignored Harold McGee's book "The Curious Cook." The book was in fact given very serious consideration.
You are correct in stating that there was not a category for "intellectual excitement in a food book." However, one of the 10 categories is Food Reference/Technical. This is, of course, the category in which McGee's publisher, North Point Press, entered "The Curious Cook." A jury of three evaluated all books in this category against a predetermined list of criteria. The field of entries was narrowed to the five top-scoring books. These five were then evaluated a second time, using the same criteria but this time assessing one book against the other.
At this point the three top-scoring books in each category were announced as I. A. C. P. Cookbook Award Nominees. "The Curious Cook" was one of the three selected as a nominee in the Food Reference/Technical category. Ultimately, another book ("The Complete Book of Spices") was selected as the best. As is always the case, all award categories had very deserving books that were runners-up rather than winners in their categories.
--DANIEL D. MAYE
Executive Vice President, I. A. C. P.