Dec 28, 2016

Heat to last the winter from Meggie's Farm

It seems fitting that Kris and John Maguire were in the jewelry business before they started growing peppers. They started the farm after retiring from their family-run jewelry business and since then have been cultivating at least fifteen varieties of peppers (amongst other unique veggies), many of which they dry and process into delicious ground spices. The farm is named Meggie's after their eldest granddaughter.

Sep 16, 2016

September Postcards

Owls Head, Maine

Dear August,

Thanks for the rose hips. I am glad I found an old zip-lock bag on the beach so that I could a) recycle it and b) use it to collect rose hips. It's September now and I am still in the process of making the darn jam, but it's going to taste great, especially with a touch of Madagascar vanilla bean. Rose hips are full of vitamin C which will help once the inevitable winter head-cold hits. I already miss you, since you're my favorite month of the summer, but October is pretty great, too.


New Orleans, Louisiana

Aug 1, 2016

Jun 25, 2016

Rainbows / Seaweed

We're coming up on the one year anniversary of a historic victory for gay rights. But then again, we are all still reeling from the mass murder in Orlando.

When I re-read a favorite poem recently, thinking about those lost in Orlando, I just sat and wept into my Norton Anthology.

Apr 20, 2016

Pollen Count

As I'm coming up on the one year anniversary of incorporating Curio Spice Company, I've been reflecting on one of the questions I've been asked a lot: "how did you get into this?" Sometimes I answer with a story about a poem I wrote in college about the saffron crocus (an esoteric beginning to a spice business), other times about farming.  But a recent study of bees and bee pollen made me realize this simple fact: I like to collect tasty things and bring them home to share.

There are other species besides humans and honeybees who collect. Male bowerbirds build elaborate nests and collect piles of objects of similar colors to attract their mate. Leaf cutter ants have entire societies built around the duties of cutting and collecting leaves for the ant colony. Collecting behavior ranges from the need for food storage to attracting mates to well, in my case, collecting spices because they make me feel alive.

Mar 31, 2016

A Beautiful Mess

I had a dream last night that I wandered into an open field. It was bright green and looked out over a lake. I sat down in the tall grass and put my head on my knees.

It's a strong contrast with where I sit right now at my messy desk with piles of papers and a half eaten banana, a cup of coffee I had to heat up in the microwave. When I finish my desk work I will head into the commercial kitchen (home of Curio manufacturing) which is in an industrial area of Somerville; the one window in the kitchen looks out over a car junkyard, smashed up sedans whose airbags have deployed; a spooky stillness hovering amidst the glinting metal.

Feb 2, 2016

Help with the Refugee Crisis in the Aegean

Blue water, black sand, fragrant thyme. Octopus cooked on a grill, eaten only with salt and lemon. The inspiration for one of the Curio Spice blends, Aegean Salt made with Chios mastic, lemon and thyme, came from the clean, bright flavors I tasted while traveling through the Greek Islands in 2010.

View from Samos, 2010

Jan 13, 2016

Homemade Chai

One afternoon when I was in college I stopped by our local natural foods store to see if they carried that chai that comes in the waxed cardboard box. The kind that you could just pour into a mug and microwave. It was Lent and in an uncustomary move I decided to give up coffee. I wasn't a coffee snob at that point - I drank the pumpkin and hazelnut flavored stuff - but I depended on that heart thrumming rush to get me through late nights of writing essays about Emily Dickinson.