Nice Spice

Just another weblog

Industrial Strength

You know those small bottles you get at the grocery store?  Here’s what we use for industrial strength jobs.  I think it would take me about a year to get through them at home!


May 4, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Heat Relief

When you think of spicy food, what cuisine types pop up in your head?  Thai?  Indian?  Mexican?  Cajun?

Now think of cuisines that are non-spicy, what comes to mind?  French?  Japanese?  Central European, New England?

The biggest difference is the temperature from the country of origin.  Using Fahrenheit in July, it is 91º in Bangkok and 76º in Paris.  89º in Calcutta while a cool 74º in Prague.  82º in Baton Rouge and 74º in Boston. Source:  NOAA

It seems counterintuitive but people in hotter climates ate spicy hot foods to cool themselves off.  In essence, use homeostasis to do the job that air conditioning (’cause it wasn’t invented yet) couldn’t.

By eating a fiery curry, the body thinks its internal temperature is raised above 98.6º.  The negative feedback makes the body sweat, cooling you down.

April 25, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Buying Spice

Where to go, where to go…

Any supermarket worth its salt will have a variety of spices available for sale.  Most of them come in little bottles.  However, it can be fairly pricey this way – look for alternatives.

I tend to get a lot of my spices at “ethnic” stores (like Richmond New May Waw on Clement St. here in San Francisco) or farmer’s markets – the Soulard market in St. Louis always had spice available at a fraction of the cost.

Since you are reading this online, you can buy it online as well.  Here’s an interesting stop on the www

April 22, 2009 Posted by | Culinary | | 1 Comment


Since the Ali G video won’t embed properly, go to

to see it in its glory

April 22, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mr. & Mrs. Spice

For those of you who don’t know the British journalist Ali G – here’s an interview with a member of the Spice Girls and her husband David Beckham who apparently is famous in his own right.

April 17, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

War! Huh! What is it Good For?

As Ali G once said, “it sorts out who is the strongest of the two countries.”

Also, conflict ultimately led to exploration of the new world and the Columbian Exchange.  This had a seismic impact on the culinary world.  Before 1492, no European, African or Asian person had tasted a tomato, potato or chili pepper (to name a few).

If you look at the map, all the trade routes go through areas controlled by the Ottoman Empire.  After conquering Constantinople in 1453, the Ottomans held the single most important point between Europe and Asia.  And as they were actively expanding into Balkan Europe and contesting naval battles with Italian city states, Spain and Portugal, another way was needed.

Going around the Cape of Good Hope was long and treacherous – so why not try sailing west?

Ancient Spice Trade

Ancient Spice Trade

April 16, 2009 Posted by | History | Leave a comment

5 Spice Blend

Paul Prudhomme lost a ton of weight and tells you why to make your own 5-Spice Blend

April 8, 2009 Posted by | Culinary | | Leave a comment

Spice Toothpaste

Saw this… and wondered why?

One of the reasons I like to cook at home is that I think I can do the job cheaper and better than going out to most restaurants.  How much does a tube of toothpaste cost?  Between $2 and $3?  It seems to me that to get the necessary ingredients, one is spending exponentially more.

A quick peek in my spice rack..  Sesame oil?  Check.  Cloves? Check.  Clove oil? Uh.  Glycerin?  I’m not making a bomb.  Xylitol?  What?

Is this homemade recipe better than what Crest puts out or should I file this away for the next time I’m lost in the jungle?  It seems like a lot of work for very little gain.

April 8, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

East Bay Product Recall

If you’re going out for Asian food, check to see what types of pepper the restaurant uses.  If its Lian How or Uncle Chen’s, I would find a new eatery!

Press release via the USDA is here…

More here…

April 6, 2009 Posted by | Culinary | , | Leave a comment

Spiced Apple Dessert

Gordon Ramsay from The F Word making a spiced apple dessert.  Lovely!

April 6, 2009 Posted by | Culinary | Leave a comment