Remember when you were a kid and you’d see your mom or your granny in the kitchen making potato salad, and how your mouth watered at the very scent of spice cake with cream cheese icing?
Remember how you declined Sunday supper at your friend’s house when you found out your friend’s mom was serving something ludicrous like tuna casserole, liver, or Brussels sprouts? Thanks for the invite, but your mom was serving fried chicken and french fries with ketchup. You'd stay home, thank you very much.
We all have memories of food when we were kids. Those times when we would ride our bikes, run with the dog, shoot the basketball, and play till we dropped onto our rear ends in the grass until the scent of gingerbread cookies fresh from the oven found its way outside to us.
Life was simpler then. We had fun. We did it all. One thing we didn't do was complain about boredom, because the poor chump who did got unbored real quick, and that translated to housework which meant we were sentenced to potty duty with a scrub brush and cleanser with bleach.
When Mom said, “You kids bored?” we’d say, “Nope, not me.”
For those of us lucky enough to have moms who could cook, we didn’t park our feet under someone else’s table. Our moms knew their way around the kitchen. Sometimes we'd sit and watch them measure the powdered sugar and then lick the beaters and marvel at their lip-smacking miracle, and could we please have seconds?
Oh, how the spices still linger; oatmeal with cinnamon and nutmeg on a snowy day before heading to school. Hamburgers on the grill, corn on the cob dripping with butter, and homegrown tomatoes with cracked black pepper.
Food is not intended to be boring. It’s supposed to be fun, shareable, exciting, warming, neighborly.
There’s a reason we go out to dinner. We enjoy the camaraderie and the energy we get from a room full of laughter and filled with stories. But just as much, we love the flavors - the fresh made-to-order comfort cuisine served on a sizzling hot plate, with the aroma of peppers and onions. From potlucks and parties to corner cafes, we like eating out.
There’s also a reason we stay home, like this past year. It’s not that we lost our desire for all things restaurant, but the pandemic came calling; this time it’s not about your mom’s cooking - it’s your cooking. You've been doing it every single night and the kids are restless, but you're not about to turn into psycho-mom because even you passed boredom 3 dinners ago.
It’s not your fault. We’ve all been grounded, looking for normal, serving popcorn for dinner and calling it “movie night.” Dinner malfunction! The question isn't how could we be bored - it's how could we not be?
What we need is a cup of imagination, a heaping teaspoon of motivation, and a dash of spice du jour. Let’s face it: your grind needs a grinder. As long as you’re in the zone, you might as well go with the best - the one named the best innovation of 2021. At Finamill, we know that spices mean the difference between whining and dining.
Even humorist Erma Bombeck knew the value of spices when she said, “The Egyptians were buried with their spices. I know which one I'm taking with me when I go.”
Not sure where to begin? Here are 5 spices to get you started with your new dinner adventure.
Dating as far back as 1000 BC, this fruity spice was once used as currency in Ancient Rome. Even Queen Elizabeth required that the pockets of her sailors be sewn up to prevent them from stealing the highly coveted peppercorns. Can you imagine that it's so common today that it’s on the shelf at our favorite grocery?
There’s no shortage of ways to use peppercorns. From salad dressings to seasoning fish, chicken, and beef, peppercorns have earned their rightful place at the table.
If you love Italian food, then you love fennel. Usually added at the end of cooking, this unmistakable flavor is the stuff that will have you kissing your fingers and saying, “Mamma mia!”
Found as far back as the Middle Ages, this seed was used as a remedy for snake bites. Often used to make chai, fennel seeds are found in pickles, bread, and even pancakes - proof that maple syrup is a food group!
Dating back to somewhere between the 16th to 17th century, this tiny little flavor giant from Indonesia looks more like a twig than it does a flower bud. Not only does it pack a punch, but it also has anti-inflammatory benefits. And if you think you’re smelling cloves at the dentist’s office, you’re right - cloves are used for toothache pain.
There’s so much to say about cloves with their unmistakable aroma of autumn, yellow and orange leaves skedaddling across a lawn, and the crackling of a bonfire on a cool, crisp evening. Could anything be more delectable than your Grandma’s spice cake with chocolate icing? It’s the thing stampedes to the kitchen are made of.
Himalayan Pink Salt
There was a time when men would not be caught dead in pink. That ship sailed, and now men wear pink shirts and neckties. Apparently, so does salt - it’s all the rage.
What can you do with it?
Soak your feet.
Use it as a scrub.
Grind it, of course.
Saltier than its white counterpart, pink Himalayan salt is newer to the game but not going away any time soon. If you need an excuse to treat yourself to a Finamill, this is it. Think of a sprinkling of freshly-ground salt on a cold slice of watermelon on a hot summer day.
A combination of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg, this is a spice that’s everything nice. Made from dried berries, allspice is a reason to live. But how to use it? Let us count the ways - with fruits, cloves, vanilla, cookies, cakes, oatmeal, ginger, sweet potatoes, oh my!
Here’s a dish of inspiration:
Applesauce A la Allspice
6-7 Golden Delicious or Fuji apples
1 tbsp butter
¼ cup light or dark brown sugar
½ tsp fresh ground cinnamon
1 tsp fresh ground allspice
Dash of lemon juice
Peel apples and chop into medium-sized chunks
Place in a saucepan with water
Bring to boil
Reduce to medium heat
Add butter and stir till melted and combined
Add brown sugar, ground allspice, cinnamon, and a dash of salt
Cook on low heat till apples break down
Use a masher to mash the apples
Serve with grilled pork chops and coleslaw. Yum!
To spice or not to spice - it’s not even a question. Don’t take our word for it. Visit us today and elevate your dinner to the next level. Your anti-boredom is just a Finamill away.