Spices, Hobbits and Such Matters

A long time ago in distant lands a burgeoning and wildly profitable spice trade existed. Spices traveled all over the world, ordered by kings and queens and no doubt by some of the finest chefs in all the lands, which weren’t known as chefs then but “The Guy That Tastes The Food To See If The King Dies” or something like that. Which wouldn’t really be that bad of a gig as long as you were sure of what went into the pot and you weren’t very diligent or exuberant with your thrashings and practical jokes on your subordinates. The old standby, a snake in a garbage pail can get you killed. Literally. It’s not funny when you’re on the receiving end of such things and I believe that, back then, whenever then was, there was an “eye for and eye and tooth for a tooth” law. I know I would encourage killing someone if they put a snake in my garbage pot, or hole, or wherever they placed garbage in these distant lands such as Arabia, Persia, Greece and so forth. I’m also sure that law was applicable in my own heritage, as they were all Cherokee Indians and Scots, who enjoyed the opportunity for some payback any chance they could get. On the other hand, it was probably great fun for Native Americans to find a snake in a pot as they would be thankful for both and just eat the snake. I would probably go with the Scottish tendencies in my gene pool and kill the snake and the  person who put it there.

But that is a another matter entirely. Like Two Dimensional Space Theory and  Ping Pong. As I was saying, a large part of a nations wealth was measured in spice trade. Spice wars raged, navigation became more accurate and thrones were toppled due to the rarity of certain spices. Turmeric, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, ginger and pepper were only a few of the spices that were traded over great distances, and inspired tales of violence, theft, fire breathing dragons, and no doubt hobbits.

The books don’t go into the Hobbit’s love of spice, but they did smoke a lot, and opium was at the top of the heap while trading for spices, so I’m assuming that they smoked a lot of it in their journeys, hence their fascination with rings and all the lies they told of treasure and glowing swords. I don’t think anyone is really for certain they smoked poppy as we don’t know anything about their behavior except in movies where they didn’t smoke very much but they did eat most of the time. They also spent a lot of time with “Wizards” and “Fairies”  and it seems they did a lot of crying while stumbling around in the smoke looking for one another. Given these observations, their fondness for opium was undoubtable, even if it doesn’t come right out and say so in J.R.R.R.R.R.R.R. Tolkien’s books. I think he must have been rather fond of the “spice trade” himself, given the number of languages he made up and all the meaningless poems that his characters chanted. Told you they smoked dope. If they weren’t eating, they were crying and sitting, or crying and walking through fire and smoke, which sounds exactly like sobering up to me. Then they were chanting and jumping around a few minutes later about mountains, gold, dragons and food and shit, so you tell me they weren’t drug addicts!

Anyway, how long has it been since you cleaned out your spice cabinets? After watching “The Hobbit” or trying to, with Nolan, I worried about our stash of spice. Did anyone want them? A quick search of Google revealed that proprietors within the spice trade were often executed in Europe when a new King or Queen took over the throne to conceal their sources for such wealth. I was furthered worried about the three of us when I found out that the most common method of execution for “Trading in Spices without Order of the King” was beheading!

In the interest of simplicity, Nolan and I had one rule: If didn’t smell, dump it. So we did! We quickly found that this leads to a lot of empty bottle and a lot of excess, non-smelly spice. Upon an executive decision, we determined that there was no value in all these spices so we tried to feed them to the cat. The cat wisely disappeared during our search for old spice, so were at a bit of a loss.

We bagged all the spice in a leftover Ziploc:

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As you can see, that’s a lot of non-smelly stuff that we had the potential to lose our heads over! We also found the main culprit, and disposed of him appropriately (by adding him to the bag, not by beheading):

IMG_0823[1]

Now enters the question: What on earth can we use these jars for? Nolan’s first idea was bowling, but his preferred ball was a rotten tomato:

IMG_0824[1]After we cleaned up the mess, we decided on Nolanball (similar to Calvinball, except there were no balls, just empty spice containers and a colander that doubles as a bath toy). The Colander offered little to no head protection against the potential for invading Turks and Hordes of Dark Lords, so that game was quickly banished.

IMG_0829[1]After all this fun, we decided that the empty spice jars would make excellent containers for small cars, leftover olives, screws, bolts, and other such important treasures that boys and their daddies collect in their adventures as non-hobbits. Really, in versatility, they can’t be beat. Just don’t put any rings in them, smoke opium, or collect treasure. Nolan and I have to go get a pizza. All this Hobbit talk has made us hungry.

Peace,

RM

This entry was posted in Food.

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