Thursday, February 21, 2013

My Favorite Spice

Natalie is in her afternoon fit. She's been freaking out since she woke up from her nap and seems less distractable than usual. I tried for 30 minutes, then put her in her crib, where she has been for another 30 minutes. Still crying at full force. I have a headache. So, I thought I'd relax and try to ignore the screaming by sharing something vapid.

My brother and sister-in-law just made it to the Seattle, WA area, where he is starting a new job. I think I was subconsciously rooting for the job an hour from here because, even though I know they're doing what is best for them, I'm super bummed. Haha. I know that there's technology to stay informed and travel on holidays to see one another, but it's just not the same as having them nearby.

I've imagined what it must be like for them to show up in a new city and move into a new apartment. That got me reflecting on our arrival in GA in 2011 with only the things that we could fit in the Prizm. There was SO MUCH we had to buy again. (Kudos to them for renting a uhaul!) And after the furniture and appliances and linens were all taken care of, the next thing I missed was having a full spice cabinet. You take for granted all of the spices that you collect over time and expect to be there when you go to cook something! But it is SO tough to cook when your spice cupboard is empty. I believe that salt, pepper and garlic were the first things we aquired, but it didn't take long for our store to include oregano, basil, onion powder, cinnimon, chili powder, paprika.... down to the less commonly used spices like caraway seed and coriander.

After visiting an Indian market last year, I came home with a big bag of cumin. I had never used cumin before because, as an obscure spice, usually it is only available at mainstream supermarkets in a name brand (read: overpriced). But the bag at the Indian market was only like $1, and though I had no deliberate recipe in mind to use it, I had made many recipes that called for cumin and simply omitted it or substituted chili powder. It did not take long for me to appreciate what a distinct and delicious flavor cumin adds! It's sort of smoky and bright at the same time. It adds a whole new dimension to mexican, southwest or Indian dishes.

So, if you have been a neglecter of cumin, I urge you to repent of your wrongdoing. Next time your recipe calls for cumin, use cumin. And even if your chili recipe doesn't call for cumin, add a splash anyway. You'll thank me later. Find an eastern or mexican market nearby and buy a bag for less than the price of a soda. Unless you have a Winco store nearby where you can buy most spices in bulk, in which case, I am so jealous that I hate you.

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