Monthly Archives: October 2011
Last night was the official cayenne themed book group. Okay, it wasn’t officially a cayenned themed book group. Officially we were meeting to discuss Steinbeck’s East Of Eden.
But the secret to a successful book group is snacks. I was once in a book group with a bunch of guys, and at the first meeting I asked the guy hosting if he wanted help putting out snacks and drinks, and he was all “Why would I put out food? We’re here to talk about the book.” That group died a sift death.
My book group has excellent snackage, and we’ve been together for over fifteen years. You do the math.
So last night when the husband came home we had a mad burst Food and Wine magazine inspired activity in the kitchen to makes snackage for the evening. It wasn’t until there were on the table that I realized the constant for all the recipes we made was cayenne.
First up was Sesame-Chile Kettle Corn. Which, in my defense, wasn’t supposed to have cayenne pepper in it… but I couldn’t find dried chiles de arbol at the store. And the handy dandy Internet suggested cayenne pepper as a substitution.
Next was the first of a series of savory cocktail cookies I want to try, Chocolate-Cayenne Cocktail Cookies. Yes, cayenne was in the name, but I had been vacillating between these or three other cookies – none of which had cayenne pepper in them. They also didn’t contain chocolate, so clearly they were inferior, and remained hypothetical cookies.
Last was the Maple Pecans. I didn’t notice until I started mixing them up that they also contained cayenne.
(Oh, look! This is turning into a cooking blog. Oh, wait, it isn’t…)
Anyway… Cayenne, while making an appearance, did not overwhelm the food, or the group. We had what is likely the longest session of actually talking about the book in the history of our group. Often we spend ten minutes on the book, and the next hour and a half talking about everything but. This is probably why East of Eden is considered a classic.
But enough about Steinbeck (and, yes, I realize that was pretty much nothing about Steinbeck)… let’s have more cayenne.
Because turns out, not just a spice, but a weapon, and a medicine. That’s pretty cool. As a medicine, well, blah blah blah, super herb, cures everything. Just ask the ten thousand herbal sites on the web, would they lie to you?
But more interesting, and more verifiable, is the weaponry. South American warriors would burn peppers to use the smoke against the invading Spanish. And during the Vietnam war, Buddhist monks armed themselves with spray guns filled with a mixture of lemon juice, curry powder, and Cayenne. DIY mace?
Hmm, reading this, I realize maybe its only interesting to me, because I’m feeling all stabby today over the ongoing wheelchair depression.
Probably for the best that I used a large session of my cayenne stash on cooking last night…
If you aren’t a fan of the show Good Eats… well, I have nothing to say to you other than REALLY? Do you not have access to cable television? Oh, you don’t. Um, okay. But for the rest of you, you are missing out on the best mix of humor and food and science and whimsy EVER.
For those of you who know who I’m talking about… I just met him. Not like at the grocery store (how cool would that be?) or a party (oh, that would be even cooler!), but at a bookstore, where the husband and I paid $40 a piece, each got a copy of his newest book, and got to listen to him talk for an hour, and then got our books signed.
And I got to sit in the front row. And for one glorious hour, I did not hate the wheelchair. Because the only tickets we could get were for standing room only. But the staff cleared a path so I could be in the front row, and even found a seat for the husband two rows back. I was in the freaking front row for freaking Alton Brown.
I had high expectations for the evening. And he surpassed them.
I am too giddy do any descriptive justice to seeing Alton, so I’ll just say this: Best Date Ever!