Sunday, June 1, 2014

Keeping the spice shelf full

     I think that there are good and bad points about putting all your eggs in one basket almost like deciding if variety is the spice of life or not. Either extreme could be hazardous to your emotional health unless you are in tune with your own well being.
     I like cooking with fresh brown farm-raised eggs.  Sunnyside eggs or omlets taste so much more natural without those chemicals the chickens have been raised on, and their yellow good looks are flavorful on the palate with minimal additional seasoning. It makes a big difference and worth stopping at the neighbor's to keep a supply on hand. Some days the chickens have not laid enough eggs for her to sell, and I have to return another morning. I suppose the chickens have their rights, too, and I go away in anticipation of a future successful visit rather than feeling it was a wasted stop. I have other errands to accomplish and books to return to the library. There is more to living well.

     The spice markets in Cairo weave in and out of dark alleys each with side paths leading to more alleys that can turn into a tourist's nightmare. There is a tremendous amount of bartering and bantering going on with merchants aggressively hawking their wares at higher decibels that I am accustomed to from salespeople. I am pushed and poked and if I hesitate for even a second, a young boy will follow me for a bit insisting that I buy whatever I paused to notice. It is best to go with the flow of the moment and take it all in gracefully for this in the ancient culture touching the modern. Walking along in the oppressive heat of the day, I absorb conflicting smells and unpleasant odors permeating the stifling air. The flapping of colorful rugs and scarves wrap me up a bit dizzily and into my ancestral roots in the Middle East where my father was born. Bins and handmade baskets overflow with cardamon and mint along with other unrecognizable spices. Without labels in English I have no idea what they might be. It is a sight to see - if only once- and then I must retrace my steps back courageously to the main thoroughfare to collect my fellow travelers and their personal adventures.