Just like at my book group, this post doesn’t discuss the book.

The official spice of East Of Eden.

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…


About woodenmonkey

Just your average solar powered, hybrid driving, organic eating, happily married, pro-choice, feminist Christian artist and writer from San Francisco.

Posted on October 20, 2011, in Food, the typing makes me sound busy. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I really love the term ‘stabby’. Hope you are in better spirits today.

  2. re comment left on The Bloggess article about chargers…when you look at your place setting think “BMW” bread, meal, water. The bread plate to the left of your meal is yours not your neighbor’s, then your meal, then the water to the right of your meal is yours. problem solved. As far as forks, spoons, etc go. Use from the outside in. Problem solved…

    • Bonny – Cool Wonder why I never heard this before. I mentioned this at dinner tonight, and no one else had either.

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