SPICES IN THE STREET

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.

 

Comments 4

 
Katherine Gregor on Sunday, 04 October 2015 09:18

As someone who, over the past few years, has discovered the exquisite pleasure of cooking, and of eating good food as a profoundly bonding experience, your piece makes me sad. May I ask why you suddenly had to relinquish cooking? A friend of mine – a wonderful cook – lived in a tiny studio while training to be a lawyer and during that time managed some pretty amazing culinary exploits on an electric device which had two hotplates with an oven underneath. I know it's not as convenient as having a proper kitchen, of course, but I wonder if you could somehow re-acquire your taste for cooking?

As someone who, over the past few years, has discovered the exquisite pleasure of cooking, and of eating good food as a profoundly bonding experience, your piece makes me sad. May I ask why you suddenly had to relinquish cooking? A friend of mine – a wonderful cook – lived in a tiny studio while training to be a lawyer and during that time managed some pretty amazing culinary exploits on an electric device which had two hotplates with an oven underneath. I know it's not as convenient as having a proper kitchen, of course, but I wonder if you could somehow re-acquire your taste for cooking?
Sharon Darlene Walling on Sunday, 04 October 2015 16:10

Hello Katherine. It is sad. I returned from Africa in 2013, after trying to salvage my marriage (his idea after infidelity.) I discovered he never stopped seeing her. He had hired her best friend to be our cook and housekeeper. I was devastated. Had to quit the job I dearly loved and headed home to my huge home where I had entertained for 24 years. There was only me - kids are grown and married. I was tired and being treated for PTSD. I have survived - but he lost his job (actually his security clearance) and then we lost the house. I moved from 3200 square feet to 650. Everything was quickly thrown into storage. I only recently found my knives - a true necessity for a good cook. I have a 3 foot refrigerator, which I recently did stock with some food items. I am trying to re-acquire the desire to cook. A large part of me wants to just run away. But I'm a fighter...and a victor. I'm 71. I am thinking if I purchase one of those small convection/toaster ovens I may be able to cook more like I prefer. Thank you so very much for taking time to read and comment. (^_^)

Hello Katherine. It is sad. I returned from Africa in 2013, after trying to salvage my marriage (his idea after infidelity.) I discovered he never stopped seeing her. He had hired her best friend to be our cook and housekeeper. I was devastated. Had to quit the job I dearly loved and headed home to my huge home where I had entertained for 24 years. There was only me - kids are grown and married. I was tired and being treated for PTSD. I have survived - but he lost his job (actually his security clearance) and then we lost the house. I moved from 3200 square feet to 650. Everything was quickly thrown into storage. I only recently found my knives - a true necessity for a good cook. I have a 3 foot refrigerator, which I recently did stock with some food items. I am trying to re-acquire the desire to cook. A large part of me wants to just run away. But I'm a fighter...and a victor. I'm 71. I am thinking if I purchase one of those small convection/toaster ovens I may be able to cook more like I prefer. Thank you so very much for taking time to read and comment. (^_^)
Katherine Gregor on Sunday, 04 October 2015 17:08

Oh, goodness – you HAVE been through the wars! I am so sorry. You sound all broken up and needing slowly to mend, heal, find your wholeness. I wish you peace of mind, comfort and discovering new, wonderful things about yourself. I hope, little by little that you will start cooking little balms for yourself.

Oh, goodness – you HAVE been through the wars! I am so sorry. You sound all broken up and needing slowly to mend, heal, find your wholeness. I wish you peace of mind, comfort and discovering new, wonderful things about yourself. I hope, little by little that you will start cooking little balms for yourself.
Sharon Darlene Walling on Friday, 09 October 2015 16:35

Thank you so very much. It's hard to begin again at 71 - but I'm making progress. Thank you for your encouragement.
My best,
Sharon

Thank you so very much. It's hard to begin again at 71 - but I'm making progress. Thank you for your encouragement. My best, Sharon
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