One of the reasons I pop into the kitchen nearly every day is to create or recreate a memory. I feel like… standing over the stove, I can bring back to life a meal, not just in taste, but in feeling, too… like I can feel the heart and laughter inside the food.
It might be that I’m always chasing those good feels or trying to create new good feels in the kitchen. It’s just my way.
This pot of chicken and rice is a memory recreated. My favorite Friday night in Israel a few weeks back was a Shabbat dinner with a friendly family of strangers. Ori and Anna welcomed all of us sun-weary travelers into their home for an incredible table of food (that Anna tenderly mentioned took her three nights after work to prepare).
A big pot of chicken and rice was my favorite dish on the table (before I discovered a lemon pie in the kitchen) and it was only luck that I happened to be seated near the chicken pot for dinner. The dish was spiced with Baharat, a Middle Eastern spice blend that combines black pepper, coriander, cumin, allspice, cloves, cinnamon, paprika, and a few other warming spices. It’s savory and round and brings an incredible comfort-food mood to every dish it touches. Also, no two baharats are the same. Think of all of the differences you may have encountered with garam masala. Spice blends are always unique. (See if you can find Baharat at your grocery.