SPICES IN THE STREET
I have cooked for fifty-one years. In that time my cooking ranged from down-home, and southern comforting to international, and French cuisine, as well as American trending, and California cool.
Since I came back from Africa in 2013 I think I have ventured into the kitchen three times. And now, I live in a studio with a two-burner stove and a microwave…no oven.
A prized possession was thrown away…my spices. Some common, some hard to get. But the hurriedness of the move, and the necessity of “getting out” preceded the dumping of the spices, many of them in unique containers or grinders.
For a brief moment the air was laced with cinnamon, and Jamaican all spice, and nutmeg, and curry, and red pepper and a host of other scents.
For a brief moment fragrances became memories.
My favorite chili powder often tossed by a cupped hand into a pot of chili on a winter night. Marjoram and thyme rubbed together with warm hands – and sprinkled on the Chicken Marsala for a more formal dish, perhaps prepared for a Valentine’s dinner, Jamaican allspice used to brighten the tiny green beans sautéed in butter.
Oohs and aahs coming from friends and family, laughter and clinking of wine glasses, and recalling of other times and other places and everyone waiting for dessert, and wanting not to leave the wonderful smells and tastes and tears and smiles and nods and acceptance and appreciation and just plain love.
For just a moment – spices and memories – carried by Nevada winds…gone…no direction.