Friday, November 16, 2007


Lately I feel a little bit like 'The mistress of spices'. Apart from the living confined to my spice shop and having fantasies that involve my lover and a hot chilli pepper... and the going straight to video and being a distinctly average representation of a very promising concept, that is. It needed more bollywood or something... anyway, where was I?

I am developing a close fascination with the use of herbs and spices in cooking. I've already done quite a bit of research into herbs and spices when developing supplements and so I know that they offer many admirable health benefits. For a start they are generally very high in antioxidants and plant phenols - often higher than the traditional healing herbs you can buy in a capsule. Each herb or spice has it own thing to offer, for example cinnamon is known to improve insulin resistance, tumeric is helpful to a troubled digestion and the curry spices in general are now being considered as the main reason that alzheimers disease is a rare thing in India. Of course, hot, spicy chillis and peppers have an obvious stimulating effect on the metabolism (phew). All good stuff, but that's not entirely what I'm thinking about right now.

What I am appreciating most about spicing things up, is the increased level of sensory involvement that herbs, and particularly spices, add to a food. The food smells so good, it announces itself to my tastebuds in a nice, bold manner and my stomach and brain know that I have not just 'eaten' but that I have had a deeply satisfying eating experience. A spicy (or otherwise flavourful) meal is so much more satisfying than a bland one and I've also discovered that dessert is not so much an attractive idea if the dinner has been bursting with flavour. I'm sure the combination of stimulating spices and aromatic meals is at least a big part of the reason why Indian, Thai and Korean people are naturally lithe. I'm sure it's being studied somewhere and probably I'll have to go and look it up and bore you with my findings soon enough ;)

Tonight I have a vindaloo simmering on the stove. I would post a pic, but, no matter how I angled it, the curry just didn't look appetising. I think I'd need to insert an 'aroma-pod' into blogger to give you an accurate idea, because one thing about a lentil and lamb vindaloo.. it may smell truly divine but it's just not really photogenic. I'm usually quite DIY when it comes to the spicing up operation, but I am also newly fond of the 'Passage to India' range of gluten-free simmer sauces, which are manufactured in Australia. I read the ingredients and don't have to throw it back on the shelf and wipe my hand. I have a visceral aversion to something with ingredients that read 'water... sugar.. colouring..' Also, I am firm in my belief that a spicy sauce should not need an ingredient called 'flavour'.


  1. Mmm sounds great. I'm also partial to the spice.

    I'd be interested to hear your opinion on macrobiotic cooking, which seems to me to bland out on the spice, on the grounds that they can overstimulate the organs and throw the system out of whack. Is it even possible to have a system "in" whack?

    And what about the idea that our genetic disposition makes us more inclined towards certain foods and makes certain foods easier to digest? So (racial generalisation warning) turmeric might be easier on an Indian but difficult for an Eskimo.

    Or do foods generally have trans-racial equivalents anyway? So one person's daikon might be another person's radish - and therefore maybe our systems might be more resilient than this theory gives credit for.

    I shouldn't read your blog after a long black.

  2. Mmm, spice definitely makes life worthwhile. I could never go back to the bland cooking of my parents' generation. Boooooring!

    Wouldn't anyone choose Indian, Thai, Mexican or Moroccan over meat and 3 veg?

    Whatever beenfits there are in various spices is just a bonus.

  3. Hey Sara, Thank you so much for visiting my blog. You are such a wealth of infomation. Im about to start BFL with Kek.
    You can bet I will be visiting your blog often.
    My son would eat the chocs too, like your friend. I have to remember to give him the life rules before he gets there. Then he is fine. The big one we are working on at the moment that it is very rude to fart whist im at the checkout at the supermarket..LOL Of course everyone thinks I have done it..Ive told him to walk away before he does it. To this he relplies, well its natural to fart and I dont care what others think...sigh. LOL
    Cheryl x

  4. Well.. as for the Macrobiotic diet.. it didn't help the Kushi family stay 'in whack' and they founded it! Mrs. Kushi and daughter Kushi both died of cancer. I used to hang out with a bunch of yoga loving, vegan macrobiotic dieters (in fact I was one of them), and I remember it being a particularly boring phase of my life.

    Yes, I think biochemic individuality has a lot to do with how people metabolise foods and that is what makes 'one size fits all' diets so unsuccessful. It something that I like to think about in my spare time.. or when I'm procrastinating my current study of bacterial morphology (puh.. no nuclear envelope... like knowing THAT will help me take on the world..)


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