31 December 2010

Day 279: At Home

At Home: A Short History of Private Life.  ISBN: 9780767919388 (ARC - published October 5, 2010).

There was another chapter earlier in this book that discussed why salt and pepper, of all the spices, were the ones we kept on our tables.  The answer is pretty simple: they're the spices that displayed wealth in the old days  Why we still keep those two instead of others is probably a different question, and not one that Bryson seems to have answered.  If he did, I was distracted by all the other fascinating details and information he was cramming into this book (in a good way; this book does a lot of work for its "mere" 400 pages).

Although I do like salt and pepper, I would have to say that the two I am most attached to are garlic and red pepper flakes or hot sauce.  I'm a bit of a hothead.  I often tell people that if I'm not crying at the end of the meal, then it didn't do it's job.  This is less true of meals that aren't supposed to be hot, but I rather like the feeling a mouth full of fire gives me.  I have pretty much always been partial to garlic, to the point where I made sure I had some with me at all times throughout my undergraduate career.

Yes, that's right.  I carried garlic powder around with me in my backpack at Antioch College.  In fact, it came in use several times in class because I find the smell of garlic powder very calming and there were some Dudes who had a tendency to say very stupid things.  Also, hippies sometimes smell bad.  At the very least, the food at Antioch sometimes tended to be a little, uh, lacking in flavor.  This is kind of the nature of cafeteria food, and food in general in the Midwest.  It's a fact.  You just try finding food even remotely spicy in this region.  The garlic powder was very useful in turning a somewhat flavorless meal into something more palatable.  Of course the cafeteria provided garlic powder as well, but by keeping my own I ensured its freshness, quality, and immediate availability.

This was also the time I started drinking tea.  Because I tend to be picky about new foods/beverages I made sure I always had tea I would drink by bringing my own into the cafeteria.  Some people carry around pharmacies in their bags, I carry around an emergency food prep kit.  This is the way of the fatkid.

I have become increasingly more fond of red pepper flakes as my roommate uses them frequently (mostly on pizza).  They certainly add a very wonderful flavor to most foods.  I imagine if I had to make up another food doctoring kit, that red pepper flakes would probably be included.  What about you, my spicy readers, what would you want included in your food doctoring kit?  Are there spices you are particularly attached to?  Ones that you avoid like the plague?  I'm not fond of cilantro or anything related to it, myself.  Please, share, let's make a meal of it!

My review can be found on Goodreads.
LibsNote: This ARC was received from a publishers booth at ALA 2010.


  1. I think I would definitely have garlic powder and cracked pepper, instead of the powdered that you usually find at restaruants. I might take cardamom for sweet things, or even basil to put on spaghetti. I don't think I'd take anything hot, but you know how I am with that.

  2. At least I'll know how to make sure you don't eat my leftovers.


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