Thursday, January 5, 2012

I'm only Cumin ...

We aren't collectors per se, but Chuck and I have amassed a pretty serious collection of spices. Some he brought to the relationship, some I brought, we purchased some of them together as a couple. I'm not trying to be all "Look at our super global palates," but it is safe to say that I could create a dish from almost any flavor profile in the entire world. (Who wants Yemen-style cauliflower?!) Mostly we just have like 20 jars of Cumin.

I was looking for Cumin last night, in fact. I dug through the spice shelf three times. I moved everything from the right side to the left side, then back to the right again. I read labels, wondered how many times the Ground Mustard had been thrown into a box and driven to a new address, and if there were enough days left on earth to get around to using all that Star of Anise. This is the sort of archeological dig that, in Chuck's hands, would end with him whooshing the entire shelf into the garbage can and suggesting we just start over. Or learn to lean heavily on Pepper.

"Where in the heck is the Cumin?" I asked him.
"I just used it last night," he said. He was sitting at the table. "It's on the right side and toward the front. Move your hand a little further to the right ... That should be it right there."
"Comino Molido," I said. "What the heck is that?"
It's something I've always wondered, but not hard enough to Google it. What is Comino Molido? It must be something Chuck brought to the relationship. It sounds Cumin-y, but not a Cumin I'm familiar with. A sub-genre of Cumin? A higher grade of Cumin? Something like the difference between Paprika and Hungarian Paprika and Sweet Paprika? Not Cumin-related at all. The opposite of Cumin. A question for another day, I guess.

I kept digging, then threatened to get super extreme with this hunt and to check the spare spice cupboard.
"No, no, no," Chuck said. He got out of his chair, peered into the spice shelf, pulled a jar and flipped it to me. There, on the back side -- or front side, depending on your angle -- of the Comino Molido it said Ground Cumin.

It was Cumin all along.

How many years have I used that Ground Cumin, then not used it for a few more years because I put it away with the Comino Molido side showing. Life lesson: Trust your basic Spanish instincts.

Much like a post I started writing the other night about a dream I had, this story was far more interesting as it was happening. But since we're here: In the dream, Chuck asked me if he could engage in a romantic relationship with a woman named Alison. I said "Of course!" thinking there was no way he was serious. Soon after I walked into a pristine, albeit cozy public restroom on a college campus and found condom wrappers littered like confetti on the tile. The red, I understood, belonged to him; the blue, to her. Then, as I was standing there, I heard them talking about what had happened on MPR in calm, public radio voices.

I woke up from the dream suddenly because I thought I heard someone playing the xylophone in the living room. I was so terrified I didn't even get around to getting fake dream-mad.

There probably wasn't anyone in our living room playing the xylophone. Probably.

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