HAVE: It's an aMAYzing variety!
Apparently, all I had to do was clean a spot on my porch for my package to arrive, because when I got home from work last night -- there it was.
My cat Franklin was all over the box as soon as I brought it into the apartment. I had to swat him out of the way, because he was drooling on the tissue paper.
May, you hit a home run! Everything suits me to a T, and I am ecstatic. You nailed my love of herbs, spices and exotic flavours, my cramped space, my love of double-duty condiments. Everything is wonderful, and I'm so grateful you were able to repair the wounded package and put it back on its way to me.
May's overall theme was "Spice Up Your Life -- with a little variety". She started with six spice cannisters with clear lids and magnetic backs. (I had just admired these in Lars' package) These are so cool -- you just twist the lid to either pour or shake the spices out. You can either slap the magnetic strip on the fridge, or screw it into a wall. Versatile!
The spice rack came with 6 bags of spices, but May decided to spice it up even more. She went to Central Market and got 20 -- count 'em, 20 -- more bags! Everything from paprika to Punjab curry powder. Jerk seasoning, tandoori spice, even a little bag of catnip for Frank, who was very appreciative. There was even a bag of mint papaya tea I brought in to work and am drinking right now. Delish! Here's the motherlode:
Just to spice it up a little more, May also included sauces and salsas. TexaFrance Mango chutney, Ginger-sesame Sauce from The Ginger People, and Peach Pecan Bar-B-Q Sauce from Fredericksburg Farms in Texas -- which is on the menu (on grilled chicken) for dinner tomorrow night! May heard me when I said I like things that multi-task -- all of these proudly boast they can be used as marinade, basting sauce, dip, vinagriettes and all sorts of savory purposes. They're multi-purpose bursts of flavour!
And if 3 are good, then 42 are -- 14 times better! And that's what I got in Salsa, Sambals, Chutneys & Chowchows, a cookbook of "little dishes" from around the world. There's some really intriguing recipes in here I'm eager to try, like Clam Salsa, a dip for crackers; and Pickled grapes with ginger and chiles.
May must have 'heard' me talking about my little herb garden on the gardening forums, so she included the In The Herb Garden Cookbook, by Lucinda Hutson. Not only does she have recipes and growing information for some of the lesser used herbs like savory and sorrel, but she includes a lot of personal stories. Her great-grandmother Lucinda was a pioneer who brought her own plants and seeds across the country. My great-grandmother was also Lucinda, and I inherited my love of herbs and cooking from her family. The author also seems to share my love of dill and Danish food. There's some recipes that caught my eye, like Lemon Verbena Flan and Shrimp and Sorrel Salad, and there's a whole section on flavoured butters and herbal vinegars. It's a big world out there!
But wait, there's more! May included a cool metal hook that hangs over the lip of a drawer front -- perfect for that extra pot holder by the stove. I have these kind of hooks in the bathroom, in the bedroom, on the front hall closet -- but I'd never seen one sized for a kitchen drawer. She also included a beautiful glass cutting board with a misty print of potted herbs and flowers --that doubles as a serving tray for hor d'ouevres and little snacks! And to top it off, there was a sweet little lagniappe -- Texas Chewie Pecan Pralines. I confess, they were gone before I even took the picture!
Here's the whole shebang, with a little nosegay of herbs and edibles from the back yard this morning:
May, this is a really wonderful package. You did a wonderful job picking just the right things for me, and I'm going to enjoy these things for a long time. Thank you so much!
(And Frankie found a catnip-scented playground!)