Thursday, June 17, 2010

Ginger - The Versatile Root

Someone once asked me, if I were a spice, what would I be? Without hesitation I said, "Ginger." After all, originally native to South Asia, it is one of the most adaptable of all spices and can be used to flavor a variety of cuisines. Kinda like me - originally from South Asia, but adaptable to any environment.

To say I love ginger is an understatement. Reminds me of Bubba recounting to Forrest Gump all the ways you can eat shrimp. For instance, I like to add some ground ginger into my English Breakfast Tea (milk, sweetener included). Whenever I have a queasy feeling in my stomach, I always find relief by placing a slice of ginger under my tongue or chewing on a piece of candied ginger. Unless, I have some ginger beer at hand. Nothing helps congestion like some good old green tea with ginger and honey.

Over the past two decades, I have become an accomplished cook - in a variety of international cuisines. Interestingly, most recipes call for ginger! Who hasn't savored the pickled ginger that accompanies the most delectable Japanese dishes? And the obvious thin strips in many menu items in Vietnamese or Chinese restaurants? Don't get me started on Caribbean cuisine, oh my! Even, the revered French chefs use ginger in several recipes.

Sometimes, I channel my departed mother to cook up some aromatic Sri Lankan food of which ginger forms an important flavor base. Speaking of dear departed, my sister Jan used to make some of the wickedest ginger beer and ginger wine that she would dole out in rations when we visited her while she was alive. I was always one of the favored ones to get seconds.

According to Wikipedia, Ginger has a sialagogue action (stimulating the production of saliva). All this talk of ginger has made my mouth water. I am off to buy some ginger snaps.

P.S. Long live the Gingerbread Man and his gumdrop buttons who knows the Muffin Man who lives on Drewery Lane!

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