Once you walked in, if you'd never been here before, the first thing you'd likely notice is the sienna, pumpkin, tumeric-esque color of the room we easily spend most of our waking hours in. Hubs painted it that hue long before we met (by the way, this color-loving man of mine holds an MFA with a concentration in color theory from a fine Ivy League university-he humbly states that said degree would make a nice place mat). It is, I think, probably the best color for a kitchen I've ever encountered. That is, if you like to eat. Its earthy, spicy tone is warming and enlivening and great for stimulating the gustatory inclination. Otherwise, I hear blue shades work as appetite suppressants. But none of that here. We're eaters. And cooks. And bakers. And all-things-food-related lovers.
This love of spices moves beyond the color choices for our walls, however, and directly into our bellies. We're crazy about spices, chez English, and use them liberally, and often. To wit-every morning, soon as we roll out of bed and meet the needs of the chorus of 4 meowing cats and 2 rowdy dogs, I fire up the kettle, head to the coffee grinder, add some beans, and toss in either cardamom seeds, a bit of cinnamon stick, or some nutmeg, depending on the day's whim.
We bake with spices, season with spices, even drink with spices. It's fitting, then, that my Pop, his wife, and my sisters gave Hubs Jane Lawson's The Spice Bible for his birthday this past Friday. A hefty tome, the book offers detailed information and culinary history on 45 global spices, from ajowan (What? Exactly.) to wolfberry. Origin, uses, pairings and 250 recipes will have us cooking up everything from Cardamom Chicken (have mercy!) to Lamb with Juniper to Saffron Panna Cotta.
So far, every recipe I've looked at has been met with a "YES!" or "We're totally making that."
The Spice Bible is a welcome addition to our culinary library. Florida family, we thank you. Next time you're visiting, we'll cook you up something nice and spicy.