Intoxicating Spices

Ring of Fire 

Do you love hot and spicy foods or do you avoid them for fear of what tomorrow might bring?

It was a beautiful August afternoon in an international university campus. There were new students everywhere; some were searching for the class rooms or  the way to the library or to the campus store and a few students like me were lost and looking for the right direction to the dining hall. This was my first day in a new country. All different surprises are packed nicely and neatly for the international students and start to emerge one after another depending on the circumstances . After a busy morning in the class I decided to take a break and eat lunch. I took a small walk from my class to the Cafeteria through a small bridge on a beautiful lake. I entered  the cafeteria and looked around to see the long hall with big glass windows, beautiful chandeliers, rows and rows of  dining tables with white table clothes and pretty flowers in vases. And in one corner there was a variety of food with dinner plates on the side. The line to the food area was pretty long. I walked closer and glanced at all the food. I tried to read the names but they did not make any sense so I stood closer for some kind of aroma, but that did not happen. So I took little of everything on my white plate and sat down to eat. My last lunch was on the flight to the city.

I tried a little of everything but could not eat because there was no taste. The food was bland, there was no vibrant color, no mystical fragrant or mouth-watering taste of spices or herbs.  I ate one banana and left. It continued for a few months. I lost a few pounds and got into more healthy habit of munching on fruits. Others praised me for my figure and some even asked me about the secret of my food intake. I enjoyed the compliments but I decided to purchase a small stove to cook my own food as hot and spicy inside the dorm. It was 1988 in Iowa, where I tried but did not find any Indian spices. Some days, I used to sit in the dorm room and think about the magical exotic aromas of spicy foods of my house in India. My grand mother used to say that “Spices are like a beautiful classical music with different notes and it is important to know the right notes to play”.

One day out of curiosity I pulled out and read a book on spices from the library. Spices have been important to us since the beginning of history. Historically culinary spices were used in Ancient Egypt in 1555 BC as food preservative and for health benefits. In 668 BC the spices were used in Mesopotamia and Euphrates valley and in India as early as the 8th century BC.Spices have antimicrobial properties which may explain their importance in warmer climates. In India spices are legendary for their delightful flavors, food preserving powers and medicinal property. Now in my kitchen I have stacked some seeds from spice family like Coriander, Cumin, sesame, ajwain, aniseed, fennel, fenugreek, mustard, pungent turmeric, fragrant nutmeg and bold ginger. In my back yard I have planted Mint, Basil,  Curry plant, Rosemary, Sage and few hot pepper plants to entice my taste buds. Spices are always enjoyable and best in a milder form.

spices                       images

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. shazzameena
    Apr 25, 2015 @ 02:42:55

    I remember learning to cook Persian food for some refugees. The fragrance of Tumeric and Saffron as I cooked became such a familiar smell to me – and it brought tears to their eyes as the guests would come in the front door to my home. I learnt how important spices are as reminders of ‘home’ and ‘the familiar’.

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  2. iseeiseesaidme
    Apr 25, 2015 @ 03:29:28

    and I really loved the photos…mouth watering.

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  3. Alka Girdhar
    Apr 25, 2015 @ 08:37:28

    “Spices are like a beautiful classical music with different notes and it is important to know the right notes to play”. So true

    Like

    Reply

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Lekhamisra

Lekhamisra

Hello and Namaste to my wonderful bloggers and readers. I am Lekha, grew up in one of the beautiful city of Odisha in the mystical land India. My paternal grandmother was a perfect story teller- stories of brave kings and queens to stories of freedom fighters, to stories on kindness,honesty, compassion, truthfulness. As soon as I learned to read, my marvelous adventures started through the fairy tales, the mysteries, the classics and the autobiographies. O’ Yes, it was lots of fun! At middle school my imagination started to take wings into short stories and sometimes in sketching. In 1987 I came to USA to continue my education in Psychology. Life got busy with my son and daughter in their school,library, music class, dance class, tennis, soccer, scout, debate...Staying active is very important for me.So after work, I enjoy going to different classes - kickboxing, RIPP, PiYo and Yoga. I have a deep affection and respect to Nature. For me winter is the champion. During winter vacation it is always delightful to hike on the gorgeous,stunning and beautiful snowy mountains in different national parks. After the children started their own lives, enormous time has poured into my weekends. I decide to do devout my time in volunteering. But still I could not satisfy my hunger and craving to do something more. One evening, I was reading some article on international issues on children, women,and on animal cruelty, which were very disturbing, traumatic and sad.I could not stop my tear or could not sleep. It is very hard to see others in suffering. Life is more fulfilling and rich when you help others, when you bring smile on others. “ Be a rainbow in someone else’s clouds.”- Maya Angelou. So I start to write again. I want my writing to be a strong voice for others in distress; for the innocent animals,for children, for women, on global warming and for all other social causes. Sometimes the truth is hard to digest but I am determined to reflect on those topics to make my readers aware on social issues. And I am thankful to WordPress for providing this wonderful platform to express my observation, views and dreams. I hope you explore the stories,enjoy and leave appropriate comments.

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