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Cass in the Kitchen: The Spice Merchant’s Daughter

:kitchen: Another week, another book review. Oh no, wait, I just did a book review yesterday, didn’t I? That’s ok, too, though, because the book I am reviewing today combines two of my favorite things. No, not knitting and cook, though that could be interesting. Except that I already do that, don’t I? Hmm, that bears thinking about. But the two things combined in today’s book are cooking and history. Let me introduce you to The Spice Merchant’s Daughter. Her name is Christina Arokiasamy. She grew up in Malaysia, and her mother was a …. wait for it … spice merchant.

Now I am the first to admit that I don’t know much about spices. I tend to think in terms of salt, pepper and garlic, the end. I only recently started adding paprika “for color”. I think at least part of that is due to the years I spent as a smoker. It deadens the taste, you know. I could only taste very strong or very hot spices, and so the more subtle ones escaped my notice. By the way, paprika is good for more than color. It has a sweety hot taste, kinda smokey, but not a lot. And it’s good on popcorn (thanks Ang.). But let’s get back to the book. 1 2Ms. Arokiasamy precedes each chapter of recipes with a vignette of her childhood life. I could almost see and smell the people and spices as she opened up these windows into another culture. I I do plan to try a few of these recipes, particularly the sambals, which are served like a condiment, so the children can take it or leave it without it being a big hairy deal. I don’t cater to my children when I cook, but I do like to consider them. It seems only fair, after all, since most of them can’t cook yet ;)

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