Wednesday, May 1, 2013

New Job and Spice

Today was a busy day for me. After only one hour of sleep (seriously mind, stfu) and driving my hubby to work at 5:15am, I had an interview at a local health facility for a job. I must have done well because they offered me a job on the spot! I know how lucky I am to have snagged a job so quickly in this awful job market. So I'm pretty pumped. Any job that lets me buy grass fed meat and a whole pig for my stand alone freezer is okay by me.

The biggest blunder made by paleo newbs is eating the same stuff for lack of knowledge of the variety of things to make. When you stop eating literal crap and start eating real food, your taste buds become much more sensitive and receptive to flavors, so in the beginning, lots of folks get tired of paleo because they truly need more variety to keep the palate engaged. If it wasn't for bacon I would have given up long ago. But once I stopped eating chicken breasts and green beans night after night, I realized my love for fresh toasted and ground spices on less common cuts of meat paired with equally seasoned vegetables. And I haven't turned back.

This brings me to a post by another awesome paleo blog called "The Clothes Make the Girl" by Melissa Joulwan. She is the author of a cookbook called Well Fed, which is one of few cookbooks on my wish list (that really says something, since I'm not into cookbooks). Apart from great recipes, her blog also has posts about her travels and this gem about spices. This short and sweet post highlights a recent article from the New York Times about how the right blend of spices can trick your mind. Your palate sends your brain signals about taste, but certain mixtures of spices can, for instance, bring to mind lamb when it's actually beef. You might not be able to buy the best or tastiest cuts of meat (if you're a broke chick like myself), but invest in the right seasonings and you stand a chance that your brain won't even notice.

In a post from two years ago, Ms. Joulwan shows us exactly what's going on in her spice cabinet, and I can only say I am green with envy, not just for her wonderfully nerdy organization of her gazillion spices, but also of the sheer number of things she has to choose from when cooking! She puts some of the dark alley spice merchants I encountered in India to shame! Read this article to see what I'm talking about.

With these great articles in mind, I went shopping and was quickly routed by A) forgetting that today was technically payday and that the commissary would be full of all kinds of crazy-that-shall-not-be-named (kinda like Voldemort), and B) the fact that the spice selection there is mostly a joke. They certainly know their audience with their sugar filled ranch dressing sachets and soy lecithin packed taco seasonings, but for those of us on the quest to eat clean, they have so little to offer. In the end I bought some Mediterranean Spiced Sea Salt and Tuscan Seasoning, whatever that may be. I definitely learned my lesson.

My plan is to hop online and see what spices might be lurking out there in the Hawaiian wilds... or at least what Whole Foods has to offer. I need a revamp of spice in my paleo life. I've become a bit bored again like I was at the beginning. And with such highly attuned taste buds in my mouth, it's a damned shame not to make those guys happy.

So look in your cabinet. What is there to spice up your palate and your life? There is no legit reason to eat bland food when the right spice is out there waiting!

Once I find a great place to source some spice mixes, I'll post them here. In the meantime, read The Clothes Make the Girl and see what she suggests. Maybe you'll find what your tongue is looking for.

(Ew, don't be that guy and make what I just said weird. This is a family blog.)


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