Thursday, March 01, 2012

Like water for chocolate

I now know what magical realism tastes like, thanks to spice genius Ian Hemphill of Herbie's, a spice merchant we are lucky to have in our midst.  While putting together a kit to start my Mexican cooking journey, I came across Herbie's Spice Dust, which is included in his Mexican Spice Kit.  I didn't order the whole kit, but I did order the Spice Dust. Dust is indeed a perfect name for it, because it's magic, like Ooffle Dust of fairytales and South American epic tales. It sat on the counter like it contained gold, almost too fearful to do anything with it. But Herbie had the perfect solution, a melting moment recipe to which I added two teaspoons of the magic. It's the sultry, sexy, voluptous taste I've been looking for all my life.  Generally I'd take a piece of cheese over something sweet, but this is heady stuff, like when a perfume that you adore hits you right in the kisser, and you're just bowled over.
It's a wild combo that somehow works,  Old World, New World, undertone, robust and fragile. A taste to make you tear up in a confusing visceral way. It's so absolutely not modern. Does that make it post-modern, or a window to an earlier time? And I'm not suggesting it's musty. But speaking of musty, the only things missing are musk and saffron.

It's like:
a piece of hand woven silk
1930s velvet
amber beads
a Moroccan laneway
Frida Kahlo
a Sufi poem
Aladdin's mother's kitchen

 If it were any more sensous or thought provoking it would be illegal. It's so incredibly cross-cultural, because it's only existed in our dream before.

Ian, I salute you.

This photo is the closest I can get to the way it makes me feel.

And I absolutely have to go on Herbie's next spice foray to India. In the meantime, I am  going to attempt to make a solid beeswax perfume with it. We'll see how it goes with ground spices, but I may need to do it with essential oils. Ian, you may have to help, if you wouldn't mind.

1 comment:

Ian Hemphill said...

You can only imagine how pleasing it is to know how much something one has created is so enjoyed! Great blog