Four Things I’d Say to People Who Are Afraid of Their Spice Cabinet

Denise Krebs

1 – I used to be too, using cinnamon and basil and oregano and salt and pepper. When I felt exotic I’d add a pinch of cumin and a smidgen of chili powder. Nothing louder than what you’d find in a steaming bowl of chowder, though.

2 – Then I got older and bolder and experimented. I always loved to eat savory, flavory dishes, so why not recreate them in my kitchen? I can try. And try I do now because you see…

3 – My spices are becoming a touchstone for me. I look in my cupboard and see so many jars of hope, flavors brimming, ideas bubbling, whole leaves, pods, seeds, some crushed and powdered, as the hours are in my life. My time is limited in this place, in Bahrain where the flavors are exquisite and the spices are pennies. My time is limited on this earth. My time is limited in the kitchen, So,

4 – I want to use every hour, every recipe, every moment, every meal to the fullest. To the tastiest. To the joyful hope of a new beginning.

Note from Denise about the poem: The number 1 silver lining for me during this pandemic has been cooking. I was never much of a cook before. You asked us to write a spoken word poem. I wrote this that day: “When I saw your prompt today, I laughed aloud imagining for a moment what would have happened if this was a first day prompt. I would have run for the hills! Perhaps forever and a day climbing back under my “no poetry” rock. Thank you for waiting until Day 26! Today I felt it was a fun challenge instead of sending me packing.”





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Bridge the Distance: An Oral History of COVID-19 in Poems Copyright © 2021 by Denise Krebs is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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