As a Korean-American foodie who resides in West Oakland, I’m lucky that there’s a slew of fine eateries not too far from our home all along Telegraph Avenue in Temescal.
Spices get dirty because of the way they’re grown, stored and harvested, according to the head spice buyer for McCormick & Company. Because there are so many small farmers and shippers worldwide, that end of the supply chain is hard to control. So spices need to be sterilized before they hit supermarket shelves.
You know how that lovely yellow curry served up at your favorite hole-in-the-wall Indian restaurant turns your napkin, the tips of your fingers, even your plate completely yellow? Congratulations, you have had a swift, yet definitive introduction to turmeric.
Turmeric has been turning everything yellow for eons. Originally it was not used as a spice for cooking, but as a dye, primarily for coloring holy robes.
When you look at the squat, rectangular and extremely hard seeds of fenugreek, you may wonder why anyone would take any trouble to work with it. But this unyielding spice is accompanied with a nutty, bitter and mellow flavor that could not be replicated by anything else.
When I was invited to a pig roast by some good friends this weekend, I tried to figure out the perfect spicy condiment that was going to enhance the pig without overpowering the delicious flavor. I settled on giardiniera, which is a concoction of pickled vegetables marinated with spicy peppers.
A few years ago, I noticed an old, cracked book on the bookshelf of a friend’s mom. As soon as I picked it up, I knew that I had to get my own copy. Herbs, Spices and Flavorings was originally published in 1982 and was written by Tom Stobart. Stobart went on to produce and direct the Master Chef series on the BBC.
Learning the true shape of our food sometimes comes as a surprise. The challenge of carrying ingredients across time and distance plus the reality of everyday cooking has transformed the look, feel and — most importantly — taste of many foods. That dry, yellow powder known here as turmeric is certainly one of them. Looking […]