December 27, 2018

Understanding Food and Spices

spice book
Over the years, I have experimented with different spices while cooking and baking - either adding or swapping it to get flavours we enjoy. Reflecting back, I feel my journey to understand, know, and appreciate different spices was because of my opportunities to experiment and include it into our meals. This has made me feel comfortable in deciding which flavours would work well, and which spices I want to add.
I think it is important for every cook to know and understand spices, its origins, what part of the plant it comes from and how it works to fully integrate it into cooking and baking. While going on the chocolate trail tour in Stratford, Ontario we visited Troyer's Spices and bought a few spices that I haven't used in our meals. If you go by Stratford, you will appreciate the amount of spices they have.  
dk books herb spices
We have been reading a few DK books related to food, spices, herbs, and Ayurveda over the past months. Take a closer look at how useful these books - Spice, Eat Feel Fresh, Practical Ayurveda, The Story of Food, and Herbal Remedies Handbook - are for a healthier lifestyle.
dk herb food spice
The chili pictured on this image is green chilli from our garden that we left to dry indoors. 
Spice by Dr. Stuart Farrimond teaches us to understand the science of spices, so we can create exciting blends to cook with. This book has in-depth information about spices, origins, flavour combinations, and many more. Spices are different from herbs, as they are derived from seeds, fruits, roots, stems, flowers, bark, and some strongly flavoured leaves. Spice flavours are chemicals produced by plants often as a defence to protect themselves from animals and insects. Spices enhance natural flavours and bring new flavours and aromas to familiar foods. There are spice combinations and recipes in this book from different parts of the world including the nuoc cham dipping sauce to serve with spring rolls or grilled meats and seafood. 
dk herb food spice
Herbal Remedies Handbook by Andrew Chevallier is a visual at-a-glance pocket handbook covering more than 140 medicinal herbs and more than 50 of the most common ailments and conditions. Using this book we can identify how to use medicinal herbs for natural health and wellness. 
The tried-and-true plant-based home remedies has expert advice and know-how on essential herbal remedies, including crucial safety and dosage information. We can learn how to prepare effective remedies at home with step-by-step instructions for making herbal teas, decoctions, and tinctures.
eat feel fresh book
The Eat feel fresh book by Sahara Rose Ketabi is a contemporary plant based Ayurvedic cookbook. We like the simple explanation of how we can understand doshas and recognize our own, so we can learn to help ourselves by satisfying the needs of our mind and body. There are colourful 100 plant based, gluten and dairy free recipes for every meal of the day, including contemporary twists on classic Ayurvedic cuisine, such as turmeric-ginger quinoa kitchari, seaweed broth, and more. 

In our family, we usually like drinking herbal teas made using spices as it helps boost the immune system. The following recipe for herbal tea is from this book Eat feel fresh, which is recommended for people with the Vata dosha.

1/2 tsp each grated ginger, cardamom seeds, ground cinnamon, ajwain seeds
2 cups of hot water
sweetener optional

Add the spices to the water and bring it to a boil. Let this mixture steep for 15 minutes covered. Enjoy the strained tea throughout the day every 20 minutes for optimal digestion. 
eat feel fresh spice tea
The ancient science of Ayurveda teaches that food is divine medicine with the power to heal but the best foods for one person may not be beneficial to another. The book tells how we can identify our dosha or mind-body type, and find out what foods best suits our body. Learn how changes in season and climate affect digestion and how to adjust what you eat accordingly. Rather than focusing on calories and macronutrients, the book inspires us to focus on food qualities and tastes. Eat Feel Fresh is a practical book with colourful photography that invites us to change our relationship with food and connect with our highest self. This book is very useful similar to the Practical Ayurveda book if you are interested in following an ayurvedic lifestyle. 
dk herb food spice
It is interesting to read the extraordinary cultural impact of the foods we eat, as the Story of Food explores the early efforts of humans trying to find sustenance, and tells stories behind individual foods from salt, sushi, rice to fruits, and more.  

With profiles of the most culturally and historically interesting foods of all types, from nuts and grains, fruits and vegetables, and meat and fish, to herbs and spices, this fascinating culinary historical reference provides the facts on all aspects of each food's unique story. 
dk herb food spice
Facts we learned about almonds from this book: It is considered to be a fertility charm by the ancient Romans. For thousands of years it is seen as a symbol of hope, rebirth, and good fortune. It was not until the early 20th century that almond industry was established in California now the world's largest producer. Almonds are seeds and not nuts. Marzipan originated in Middle East and became popular in Europe in the Middle Ages. 

The Story of Food is packed with images and stories that intrigue and surprise readers interested in food and its origins.  

If you live in Canada you can enter to win a copy of the book Spice. This giveaway ends on January 31st. Please leave comments and follow my social media networks to be eligible to win.
Update: The winner is Laurie

Disclosure: Please note that all opinions and thoughts expressed are my own. All rights reserved on photographs and written content Createwithmom © 2010 - 2019. Please Ask First