The beautiful thing about spices is that they completely transform a dish. They can emulate a different culture, suggest the flavor of other foods, recall to memory a certain time or place based on just the aroma.
Case in point: last week I had a dish made up of Morningstar crumbles, cheeses (cottage, ricotta, goat, and feta), and a little bit of tomato sauce. That time I just threw in some Italian spices: voila, a lasagna-esque dish, minus the noodles. Tonight I did the same thing, except this time I used cumin, paprika, dill, and curry. Instead of savoring an Italian flavor, I traveled southeast to the Middle East (maybe India, with the dill?) and had a completely different meal. And it is so easy, just a matter of a little creativity in spice cabinet. I made the same thing for the vegetarian, throwing in some leftover sweet potato and garbanzo beans. Incidentally it was these 2 items that gave me the idea to use those spices and both actually fit in perfectly and enhance the Middle Eastern flavor. But I could use the exact same ingredients and mix up the spices to give it a totally new flavor.
On an unrelated note…
Sometimes at work I drink club soda with lime. It’s more exciting than just plain water, but it doesn’t have the chemicals or acid that soda does. Somebody today told me that drinking carbonated water (versus still water) was like having cheese covered vegetables versus plain vegetables. Hmph.
So I did a little research and everything I read said that it was not bad for you-that any negatives people think it a (teeth decay, erosion) is from the acids and sugars in soda. In fact, in some cases, carbonated water can be good for you.So don’t expect me to be giving it up anytime soon!