Ever Played Russian Roulette?

I don’t know about you but I really, really hate it when someone messes in my kitchen. And I get really paranoid when it takes FOREVER to get things back to the way they were.

Paranoid to the point of ARRRRRRRRRGGGGGHHHHH!


Let me explain:

My husband has just finished the most amazing makeover of our kitchen.  This has been something I have been waiting on for ten years since we bought the place. And, it is really beautiful.

Did I mention he used to do kitchen and bath renovations for a living?

Yup. I really lucked out when he and I got together.


“Micheal, did you know this window in the spice pantry is leaking?”

“No, I hadn’t noticed.”

“Let me get in there to fix it.” he said.

My Spice Pantry? My Secret Realm? My Baby?

“No, that’s okay. It’s fine.”

“Really? Did you notice that water is coming in?” he said with a look.

“It isn’t doing any harm.”

“Micheal, we are going to get mold. Now, stop being silly and get out of the way.”

Reluctantly, I let him go to work. My spice pantry is a four by four room lined with cedar and shelves holding every spice imaginable. Jars give way to tubs give way to crocks of spicy goodness. Everyday spices such as garlic rub shoulders with more exotic spices.

Angelica seed. Check.

Nigella seed. Check.

Big tub of saffron. Oh, yes. After all, when you have a friend who’s family owns a saffron plantation outside Tehran, you have to take advantage of opportunity.

I counted once and swear I had 168 different spices and mixtures. And, that was a while back so I sure I am over 200 by now.

I have picked them up everywhere. Auntie Arwen’s. Jungle Jim’s. Pampered Chef. Saraga Market. You name it.

I also grow my own. Giant dill battles with rosemary and oregano in one corner of my backyard as I like my spices organic. I like to actually know what is in the food I am serving.

All of them line the shelves and are clearly marked with a Sharpie on the glass.

Which brings us back to my dilemna.

“Hey, Micheal. A lot of dust got on these jars and I need to wipe them off.”

As I was distracted, I just grunted.

“Um, Micheal. Did you know Sharpie wipes off of glass when you wipe it with a damp cloth?”

“Hmmm…no.” Distracted still.

“Well, you are going to have to relabel a few of these.”

“What?” I said turning.


I was staring at at least 100 unlabelled jars, canisters and tubs filled with half the spice of mankind.

And, I had no idea what they were.

Well, that’s not quite true. Common spices were easy. Sniff! Ground garlic. Sniff! Oregano.

And, so on.

But, when you have as many odd and exotic things as I have there is only one solution.

You have to taste them all.

And I like spices and all but do you know how hard it is tell some of them apart? And the mixtures were even worse.

Is it Auntie Arwen’s pork rub or Jungle Jim’s pasta kicker?

Is it fenugreek or fennel?

Is that rice powder or cassava powder?

And why does my mouth take like I have been chewing on a donkey hoof? A pine flavored donkey hoof.

After a while, they all start to merge together. And, you know that some of those spices also have unexpected medicinal uses.

My head was swimming.

Cranberry powder makes you pee. Nasty stuff and has me running every five minutes.

Turmeric can make you flush. Is it hot in here? Phew!

Did you know nutmeg has hallucinogenic qualities in some varieties? HMMMM … Is that a unicorn? So pretty…..

And, garam masala make you run as fast as you can to the toi———–



Spiced Pork Roast

2 cups water

1/2 cup honey

10 lbs. boneless pork roast

2 tbsps paprika

salt, to taste

1 tbsp chili powder

1 tbsp onion powder

1 tbsp garlic powder

1 tbsp pepper

2 tsp cumin

Secret Ingredient: Dill fronds


First, preheat the oven or grill to 400F.

Next, mix the honey, paprika and water together and whisk well.

Lay out the pork roast and thoroughly coat it with the honey mixture as you want it sticky enough for the other spices to adhere.

Mix the other dry spices and liberally coat the pork roast with them.

The secret here is to take fresh dill frond and wrap them around the roast. Tie them with string is needed.

You can place it on the grill if you like you roast with a little more crust or wrap it in foil and bake to make sure it stays moist.

Serve hot and enjoy!


COPYRIGHT 2016 Micheal J. Hobbs


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