I was on the move for most of the second half of December and loved every second of it. From Portland to central Oregon, up to Washington, then down to Eugene for Christmas. I covered all kinds of terrain. In Seattle I perused Pike Place Market, climbed to the top of the Space Needle, ohh-ed and ahh-ed over the downtown library, designed by Rem Koolhaus, and even waited in line for over an hour at the Sheraton to see a collection of over-the-top gingerbread houses. Snowboarding, wonderful meals, wine and laughter with family.

While in central Oregon, a particular conversation I heard while in a small café in rural Oregon really struck me. An older women, with a recipe in hand, asked to speak with the chef. It appeared she knew him, because when he came out to the dining room, they begin straight into a conversation about the recipe. I don’t know what it was that I found so fascinating about this interaction, but I guess my curiosity got the better of me, because I certainly must have been staring quite blatantly at these two while they conversed. The patron held up the recipe and asked about a specific ingredient. Pointing to the paper, she asked, “What is this, cardamom? Now, is that like saffron?”

Now, I can’t say I’ve ever purchased cardamom myself, but I’ve seen it throughout my life, I can conjure up a smell and taste in my mind upon it’s mention. It’s an importation ingredient in Turkish coffee, which I’ve had my share of because my father is Armenian and it’s something his side of the family will serve after dinner. It really struck me that this woman, did not know what cardamom was. It got me thinking about what we are exposed to in our lives. How knowledge of somewhat obscure things like not-so-common spices becomes like a road map for our experiences.

Leave a Comment

Leave a comment.