HAVE: It's an aMAYzing variety!

alisonAugust 4, 2006

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!)

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Ohmigoodness! What a great package! I love those tins! I didn't realize you could shake, too. That's really neat! And you hit the lottery with all those spices! I really need one of those cookbooks. I don't know nearly enough about herbs...using, growing or storing them. But I'd love to know more! I'd love to read the section about butters and vinegars! Love that drawer hook! Enjoy your great package!!

Super job, May! Super!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 1:45PM
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That IS a great box, and I really like those spice jars. I didn't realize you could use them as shakers either, that's cool.

My favorite, though, is the kitty in the box!


    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 2:18PM
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Nice spicy package, May! Those little spice tins are really great, and all those spices! Those cookbooks sound interesting, too. Alison, Franklin is a beauty!(blue point?)

    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 2:22PM
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Actually, Frank was a stray. I'm not sure if he's pure Siamese, so I usually introduce him as 'a proud Thai-American'!

Hehehe... my co-worker is suffering spice envy....

    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 2:32PM
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Spice envy, LOL. Nice package Alison. I just love those clever, space-saving magnetic canisters. No wonder Frank was drooling - catnip! Sometimes I just sniff my spices and drool too...

    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 2:38PM
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Spice envy, indeed! Wow, 26 spices AND cute/functional containers??? The cookbooks look interesting, especially the herb one. I have an herb garden, too, tho it is not faring as well as I'd like in this drought!

That drawer hook will surely come in handy, gonna have to look for one of those....


    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 3:34PM
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I too think those tins are so cool!

I have seen tins..but not magnetic ones..Your whole shebang is way cool:)

    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 3:37PM
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Thank GOODNESS it finally arrived! I sent the original package on July 10 and it never arrived! I'd just about lost all hope and figured it was lost forever, till it came back to me, that is, what was left of it came back to me,

along with a letter of apology from the post office for damaging my package.

Some of the spices were missing, one of the jars of good goo, and the original cuttingboard/serving tray were also gone. Thankfully the spice containers and books were still there. When I went to replace the spices, I figured I'd throw in the chocolates and the hook as extras since Alison had suffered along with me watching for the box that never came!

I'm so glad it all arrived ok in the end and that you like it. I really enjoyed shopping for you, especially choosing all those spices. The room where I packed it all up smelled wonderful! Enjoy!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 3:52PM
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That is an awesome box! Hey, no wonder kitty wanted in there so bad, all those herbs! hahaha!

Enjoy your bounty!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 4:48PM
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lol Shaun!

Franklin is sooo cute, Alison! That cookbook of little dishes sounds wonderful, as does the herb cookbook. Have fun experimenting with your spice assortment!

May, you done good!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 5:30PM
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Teriffic box May.... how dare the P O mess the original up so bad.

Alison I just know you are going to put all the herbs to good use, keep us informed.


    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 5:32PM
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OMG, May - what a nightmare! But what a great package i twas in the end! Love all the spices and the cookbook.

Alison, love your kitty...


    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 5:32PM
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Holy spice rack, Alison, you're gonna love playing with all those spices. What a treat.

May, what is it with you and your luck with these swaps??? LOL

It may have taken a little longer and you may have gone through some aggravation, but the package turned out super. Great job as usual, May.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 6:07PM
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That's a great package, May. Looks like you have no excuse not to spice up your life, Alison. Very nice stuff!

I love what you said... Thai-American... I have one of those, too. :) Her name is Pad Thai.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 6:49PM
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I love that Frankie's full name is Franklin. So dignified and all. What a haul.

That is awful that some of the items were missing. Argh.

Well, it turned out great in the end! I have spice envy now, too...have fun Alison!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 8:02PM
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Frankie just knew that box was suppose to be his treat !

May -- very nice selection -- it all goes together so well-- even tho the PO did it's worse .

They all seem perfect for you Alison -- those cookbooks sound like grat reading .


    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 10:13PM
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What a nice, spicey package. I want some of those spice jars, everything is wonderful.

May, I hate the UPS mixup, I got one of the same letters about a month ago, something I had ordered for the swap, thank goodness I had ordered one for myself or I would have been in trouble.

Enjoy your package, Alison!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2006 at 12:13AM
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I didn't know the Post Office apologised! LOL That must ahve been a terrible feeling to see it come back in that shape. But you came through with a great spicy package. What a haul! Poor Franklin, waiting for you to get to the catnip! How cute.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2006 at 12:51AM
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May, you did a wonderful job with an exciting package. You're experience with the P.O. is the reason I ship UPS or Fedex!Too much lost or destroyed. I'm sorry it happened, but you recovered nicely! Allison, please keep us updated while you cook with all those exotic spices!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2006 at 1:41AM
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Wow, May, you did good!!! I'm hearing more and more horror stories about the USPS delivery service. I'm sorry you had trouble.

Alison, enjoy your spicy package!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2006 at 8:46AM
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May, Sorry for that harrowing shipping story!! We all hold our breath until packages arrive safely. You took such care in choosing and shopping, I can't imagine starting over! Yikes.

But all is well and you certainly did spice up Alison's life indeed. Now we all await the myriad reciped she'll have to conjure up.

Alison, You are going to need a walk in refrigerator if you want to do what Lars did and put them on the door. LOL


    Bookmark   August 5, 2006 at 9:53AM
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Ellen, just wait until you hear about what happened to Chase (Sharon's) box one year and you might not want to use FedEx again. 'Some FedEx guys wife is enjoying some nice goodies', lets put it that way.

'Cat in the box' - isn't that redundant?

Alison, with your love of spices, it looks like May put together the perfect package for ya! Now go hit that 'Spice' cookbook from Sortun.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2006 at 10:23AM
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I also need to look for one of those drawer hooks, they look like a perfect place for oven mitts. We retrimmed the windows in the house we are moving out of and I lost my mitt hook. Not going to replace it as I will only be there for a few more weeks tops.

Alison, wasn't it your original package to Granjan that got temporarily lost last swap? Seems like it is always the best boxes that get lost or messed up. Although that category or distinction fits all the boxes. Great box May.


    Bookmark   August 5, 2006 at 11:27AM
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I love seeing packages from Texas, and May did a great job of picking out specialties. Your cat looks very happy too! BTW, I put my magnetic spice containers on the side of the fridge, not the door, although I realize it's probably hard to tell from the picture. I love Texas pecan pralines, and I will actually be in Texas in October. The cookbooks look really interesting, and I hope you may share some of the recipes, especially the Salsa book.


    Bookmark   August 5, 2006 at 8:04PM
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Oh heavens what a great box! I just love the idea of all those spices. Somedays I just wish I could have all new fesh spices lined up un nice new containers....but then the idea of tossing the old gets the better of me. This would be the perfect excuse!

Great job May

    Bookmark   August 6, 2006 at 8:31AM
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GREAT idea for a swap! What a terrific package. And what a sweet kittie!


    Bookmark   August 6, 2006 at 11:34AM
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aMAYzing is right! Great swap box you have there Alison! May, sorry to hear about the delivery problems but all and all a great package in the end. Spiced things up for Alison that's for sure!! Have got to find those spice containers, I really do love them!!


    Bookmark   August 7, 2006 at 10:57PM
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Great spicy package May. I love those containers too.

Beautiful cat Alison. Looks like both of you are enjoying your package.


    Bookmark   August 8, 2006 at 7:16AM
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I love the spice containers and have been toying with the idea of trying them myself. They're so cool, yet practical as well. I really enjoyed seeing kitty LOL.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2006 at 5:36PM
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