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Spice: Flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean
On a trip to Turkey as a young woman, chef Ana Sortun fell in love with the food and learned the traditions of Turkish cooking from local women. Inspired beyond measure, Sortun opened her own restaurant in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the award-winning Oleana, where she creates her own interpretations of dishes incorporating the incredible array of delicious spices and herbs used in eastern regions of the Mediterranean.79% (14)
In this gorgeously photographed book, Sortun shows readers how to use this philosophy of spice to create wonderful dishes in their own homes. She reveals how the artful use of spices and herbs rather than fat and cream is key to the full, rich flavors of Mediterranean cuisine -- and the way it leaves you feeling satisfied afterward. The book is organized by spice, detailing the ways certain spices complement one another and how they flavor other foods and creating in home cooks a kind of sense-memory that allows for a more intuitive use of spice in their own dishes. The more than one hundred tantalizing spice categories and recipes include:
Beef Shish Kabobs with Sumac Onions and Parsley Butter
Chickpea and Potato Terrine Stuffed with Pine Nuts, Spinach, Onion, and Tahini
Crispy Lemon Chicken with Za?atar
Golden Gazpacho with Condiments
Fried Haloumi Cheese with Pear and Spiced Dates
Absolutely alive with spices and herbs, Ana Sortun?s recipes will intrigue and inspire readers everywhere.
30 May 2010
It'd been about three years since I'd had fancy cheese and finding it in Utah Valley had been a futile hunt. Finally, I found some (at a display that had opened about a year earlier at an Orem grocery store where I'd never been). Having watched my money and been craving non-standard cheese for over a year since being laid off, I'd had enough and decided to buy some... months before I actually did so. Then, after buying some, I waited for a "good time" to eat it. Two weeks passed in which I was either not in a strong enough fancy-cheese-craving mood, had a cold, and deemed the times "not right enough." Then, I had a crummy day and decided that day was as good as any so I prepared this spread (on a tray I'd bought at my first and only estate sale over seven years earlier and had never used for food). I drank cheap wine from a pottery cup made by a former coworker and sat in the yard for two hours, taking pictures, eating and watching the setting sun turn the mountains gold and pink. The bread was some discount rosemary bread from a grocery store bakery, the fruit is kiwi, the small plate holds EV olive oil with spices, the olives are Kalamatas (another rare purchase), and with the whole raw almonds are the cheeses: Cotswold, Shropshire Blue, chevre, gouda, feta, Stilton, and a rosemary white cheddar made in Utah.Lush soap
Lush make really nice soaps and cosmetics. I seem to have a little collection growing. I got some for christmas and I saw some bath bombs going cheap today so I bought them. www.lush.co.uk/index.php
A brilliant, original history of the spice trade—and the appetites that fueled it.Similar posts:
It was in search of the fabled Spice Islands and their cloves that Magellan charted the first circumnavigation of the globe. Vasco da Gama sailed the dangerous waters around Africa to India on a quest for Christians—and spices. Columbus sought gold and pepper but found the New World. By the time these fifteenth- and sixteenth-century explorers set sail, the aromas of these savory, seductive seeds and powders had tempted the palates and imaginations of Europe for centuries.
Spice: The History of a Temptation is a history of the spice trade told not in the conventional narrative of politics and economics, nor of conquest and colonization, but through the intimate human impulses that inspired and drove it. Here is an exploration of the centuries-old desire for spice in food, in medicine, in magic, in religion, and in sex—and of the allure of forbidden fruit lingering in the scents of cinnamon, pepper, ginger, nutmeg, mace, and clove.
We follow spices back through time, through history, myth, archaeology, and literature. We see spices in all their diversity, lauded as love potions and aphrodisiacs, as panaceas and defenses against the plague. We journey from religious rituals in which spices were employed to dispel demons and summon gods to prodigies of gluttony both fantastical and real. We see spices as a luxury for a medieval king’s ostentation, as a mummy’s deodorant, as the last word in haute cuisine.
Through examining the temptations of spice we follow in the trails of the spice seekers leading from the deserts of ancient Syria to thrill-seekers on the Internet. We discover how spice became one of the first and most enduring links between Asia and Europe. We see in the pepper we use so casually the relic of a tradition linking us to the appetites of Rome, Elizabethan England, and the pharaohs. And we capture the pleasure of spice not only at the table but in every part of life.
Spice is a delight to be savored.
From the Hardcover edition.
There was a time, for a handful of peppercorns, you could have someone killed. Throw in a nutmeg or two, you could probably watch. There was a time when grown men sat around and thought of nothing but black pepper. How to get it. How to get more. How to control the entire trade in pepper from point of origin to purchase. In Spice: The History of a Temptation, classics scholar Jack Turner opens up the whole story of pepper and its kind like a ripe melon. He brings the exotic scents of the East deep into the history of Western culture.
Everyone knows a little bit of the story, how the desire to control the spice trade drove Western nations deep into the heart of the Age of Discovery, the Portuguese sponsoring Da Gama's push to India; the Spanish underwriting the many attempts of Columbus to get to India another way. The Western madness for spice was just about peaking in this time, and spice would all too soon become--gasp--common, much like the afterthought condiment it is for so many today. Who thinks twice about pepper any longer?
And yet, the history is long and glorious, and the window spice throws open on Western culture yields a glorious view. Jack Turner is a skilled tour guide and story teller. He starts his narrative with the 16th century quest for spice, then loops back into three mains sections of text: Palate, Body, and Spirit. Turner has mined classic and Medieval literature for any and every possible mention of spice and demonstrates how fixated the West became from the time of Augustus in Rome through to relatively modern times. He winds his narrative through the way spice was used in the foods of the wealthy (and puts to sleep the nostrum about rotting food), as a medicine, a sex aid, and as an aromatic channel to the gods of the time and place. He ably demonstrates the constant underlying tension surrounding spice--that it was both attractive and repellent, that it represented fabulous wealth and power for some and, for others, an abhorrence of the exotic East that exists to this day.
This is not an easy story to tell. But Turner makes it appear effortless. Pull a chair close to the fire, pour a draught of spiced wine, crack open Jack Turner's Spice and you'll read your way into the wee hours of the night. --Schuyler Ingle
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