Friday, March 27, 2009

The Spice of Life ~ Ancient Byblos

What is it about this picture and this particular spice blend?

This is my Byblos spice blend. I named it in honor of one of the oldest inhabited places on the earth, what the Greeks referred to as Phoenicia. Byblos actually means "papyrus" in Greek. The fishing port was called this because it was crucial in the papyrus trade.
This is the number one selling spice blend on my Etsy site - hands down. None of the others have gained the popularity of Byblos.
I often wonder what it is about these three spices blended together that make it so popular.

In Lebanese cooking, this trio is the life blood of food. It is the base, varying widely in dishes from fish to stew, breads to salads (not what we think of as salad in America - think dip for bread). The three spices make a fragrant marriage, something unique in a land where salt and pepper reign.

Consider the colors. Salt and pepper are black and white (depending on the varieties of course); however, the richness of paprika, cinnamon and cayenne, the warmth they convey cannot be denied. And maybe that is why this spice blend is so popular.

My mom thinks Byblos is big because it contains three well known spices that few would consider blending. Perhaps. But I like to think that it's the idea behind the name as well. Byblos: a place where people have lived, married, died, and been born for millenia. A spice that has been crucial in their foods for almost as long, traded across the lands, shared, and enjoyed. A taste of the ancient world. The colors of a desert sunset.

Blessings to you.

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