Do you need a spice therapist?


The New York Times recently published their special magazine food and drink issue and one article struck us as especially interesting. In The Transformational Power of the Right Spice  they interview a spice purveyor (Lev Sercarz) whom restauranteurs call “a magician” and who  himself considers spices to be both a vocation and a mission. His talent in the former role was demonstrated when he demonstrated the power of spices by using a filet mignon, coated with a cumin-based mixture, to convince the author he was tasting lamb and adding a smoky spice mixture to salmon convinced him he was eating pork tenderloin.

Admittedly, spice mixtures can elevate cooking to perhaps unexpected heights, but what about being a spice therapist? To highlight that aspect of his trade, Sercarz concocted a spice mixture customized to the author’s background (raised near Moscow, living in New York) that he named “Stavia.”  And it seemed to work, “Then, on Day 3, I noticed that the Stavia was affecting my mind. As I ate, my brain began to regurgitate childhood memories.”

It does make sense, given how powerful smells can act on memory, that if you’re looking to revisit your childhood the right spice mixture could trigger those memories. And using spices could be an attractive cost-effective memory session – one that can be tested in your own kitchen and, even if it doesn’t work, still helps your cooking. Just make sure the spices are truly fresh.

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