Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Tip for Helping Missionaries: Add Spices to Their Life

Sadly, many missionaries don't know how to cook much of anything, and what they do cook is often bland. One tip on how to enhance the quality of missionary life is to make sure your missionaries have a good collection of spices and know how to use at least some of them. Spices not only can transform a boring dish into a much more delicious meal, but provide numerous health benefits. This month's Scientific American, for example, has an article on the scientific interest in one of my favorite spices, turmeric, for its possible health benefits. It's antioxidant activity and multiple other effects may be helpful in a number of areas (and some have speculated that turmeric may be a factor in the very low rate of Alzheimer's disease in India, though it's just speculation now). Many spices have strong antibacterial potential and are rich in antioxidants and just make sense as part of a varied and balanced diet. Cinnamon has also gained a lot of publicity recently for its effects in reducing cholesterol. A doctor of a stroke victim I know told him to add more cinnamon to his diet, in addition to expensive medication.

Use spices with wisdom and balance, but use them! That's my opinion, anyway. And I think they make an excellent gift for missionaries. Small plastic containers can travel easily as elders move about, and yet provide a big kick to meals.

My suggested essential spices for missionaries (besides salt and pepper): basil, oregano, turmeric, cayenne pepper (or another hot pepper - Aleppo pepper is best but harder to get), garlic powder, cinnamon, and a curry mix (with or without turmeric as a major ingredient). Cumin and paprika might also be considered, and perhaps a popular blend such as Italian seasoning. Other essential spices?

On my mission in Switzerland, we had a rack with 22 spices that I accumulated, and it certainly made life even more worthwhile. But I think a smaller number will do just fine for most elders.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

In Bulgaria we loved Rootbeer extract and Mapleine. I don't know if these count as spices, but they were nice to have.

Bookslinger said...

I was known for creating a spice collection in every apartment I was in during the mish. I left the spices there for the next elders.

You can eat practically anything if you season it right.

Ryan said...

I still do most of my cooking with the following set of spices:

Pepper
Salt
Seasoned Salt (with no MSG)
Cinnamon
Nutmeg
Garlic Powder (garlic salt is less expensive, but nearly pure salt. Not nearly as good for repelling flirts).
Fresh onion (not really a spice, but adds tons of flavor when chopped and sauteed)
Italian seasoning blend (Most people can't tell you didn't mix the oregano, thyme and basil yourself...)

An expansion pack would add:

Curry Powder
Fajita or taco seasoning
Tapatio Hot sauce (Spanish-speaking mission...)
Vanilla Extract
Lemon Pepper

Naturally, there are others that come up once in a while, but these make a respectable core that's easy to learn how to use.