Tastes

Spice Migrations: Cumin

Spice Migrations: Cumin

Aromatically sharp, earthy and haylike, cumin is essential in cuisines from Asia to Latin America. It is also one of the world’s oldest spices, one that has served as a remedy, a seasoning and a commodity for nearly 4,000 years.
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Flavors: Rice with Carrots and Raisins (Kabuli Palaw)

Flavors: Rice with Carrots and Raisins (Kabuli Palaw)

In a time before the convenience of julienne slicers and store-bought peeled and slivered nuts, kabuli palaw was time-consuming and elaborate to prepare and was reserved primarily for ceremonial events. These days, although it takes less time to make, it still commands reverence. The delicate blend of spices and a crowning glory of glistening carrots, raisins and nuts give kabuli palaw pride of place among Afghan rice dishes.
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Spice Migrations: Cloves

Spice Migrations: Cloves

Stems like tacks, buds like gems and scented so richly that their sweet redolence wafted far out to sea, cloves have come to the kitchen from the island of Ambon, the archipelago of Zanzibar, and many places between and beyond.
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Flavors: Spinach and Ginger Salad

Flavors: Spinach and Ginger Salad

I have childhood memories of my mother making this for me and telling me about its beneficial health effects!

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Spice Migrations: Nutmeg

Spice Migrations: Nutmeg

In the Banda Islands, picking, peeling, drying and selling nutmeg to Arab and other traders was an aromatic business for centuries until the Dutch arrived. Nutmeg’s early fans used it more for health than cooking, but today it’s a kitchen staple, used in the West mainly in desserts but elsewhere in both sweet and savory dishes.

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Flavors: Fresh Thyme Pie (Za'tar Akhdar)

Flavors: Fresh Thyme Pie (Za'tar Akhdar)

Spreading the toppings evenly across the dough takes practice. Too much or too little of the topping makes a big difference. I found that the best way to spread the toppings on different pies is with your hands.
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Spice Migrations: Pepper

Spice Migrations: Pepper

It is the most common spice on tables around the world today, and for centuries, growing and trading the round corns of Piper nigrum—black pepper—created wealth, from pepper’s monsoon-watered origins in India to all of Asia, East Africa and Mediterranean Europe.
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Flavors: Spicy Bean Soup

Flavors: Spicy Bean Soup

There were several meat dishes, so I asked if I could eat only non-meat ones. They were happy for that and charged very little—perhaps because the meat dishes were the centerpiece. This bean soup, harira, is often made with lamb, but this is a meatless version. I sometimes add peas or other veg to use them up. 
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Spice Migrations: Cinnamon

Spice Migrations: Cinnamon

The series Spice Migrations opens in Sri Lanka with one of the world’s favorite spices, which once grew exclusively on that island. Traders priced cinnamon like gold, and those who could get it used it for health as much as for flavor. A storm, and a Portuguese fleet, changed everything.

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