Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Private Selection Whole Cumin

Whenever I see a cumin seed, I think of this one chicken recipe I tried and hated. My words: "As a matter of fact, I don't know if I'll buy cumin seeds ever again because of this experience." How times change.

Necessary for my fancy-pants Latin dinner, I picked some up.

Checking out Larousse for some background on these crazy little seeds, I found this:
An aromatic plant with long spindle-shaped seeds that are used as a condiment and a flavouring. They have a hot, piquant, and slightly bitter taste. Cumin is cultivated today in Mediterranean countries, and also in Germany, the Soviet Union*, and even as far north as Norway. There are biblical references to its use in soup and bread, and the Romans used it to flavour sauces and grilled (broiled) fish and to preserve meat. It was often included in the recipes of the Middle Ages (see cominee). Today it is a classic condiment for bread (especially in eastern Europe) and is also used in certain preparations of cold meat and cheeses, such as Munster cheese.
Say what? In preparation of cheese? I'd have never guessed. And isn't it trippy how we know what people ate in the middle ages? That's back in the days of crusades and barbarians.

I can't help but marvel at how cumin seeds look like fennel seeds but don't smell anything like them.

*Remember, my copy of the Larousse Gastronomique is circa 1984. And in case you don't recall, the Soviet Union went out with 1991.

Private Selection whole Cumin Seeds available in the spice aisle of Ralph's for $2.49 a 1.7 oz jar.