While making Jambalaya last week, I used up the last of my Creole Spice Blend, so today, feeling a need to start setting things right, I made another batch.
There are a lot of ingredients in it, resulting in a lot of spice jars on the counter. I took the opportunity to gently wipe the outside of each jar, because with time and use, they can get a little grubby. I placed them each back in their spot on the spice rack on the wall, yes, in alphabetical order. They’re just easier to grab that way when you need one quickly, and they look so neat and orderly there, as they always have since I finally finished collecting them, one at a time, by mail order, over 30 years ago. They have survived three apartments, two houses, and 6 months in storage as The Husband and I hunted for our first house together in New York, almost 20 years ago. They survived because they are cherished. Losing even one would leave an empty space on the rack that could not be filled, so they are handled with care.
Making the spice blend put me in the mood for something that would put it to good use. Creole comfort food is some of the best comfort food there is, and with some shrimp in the freezer, I immediately thought of shrimp étouffée, but I wanted another layer of comfort.
I want to be smothered in comfort, right now, truth be told. It’s been dreary and damp for two days now, and I know it’s only going to get more dreary and dark and cold for the foreseeable future. So, while I know it’s usually served over rice, I made shrimp étouffée and grits. Grits are on my top ten list of comfort foods, and they are just as good as rice for soaking up the buttery, spicy shrimpy sauce of an étouffée, but have a smoother texture that soothes my soul.
We have a lot of soul-soothing, and soul-searching, to do. There’s a long difficult road ahead for all of us, and some unflattering truths we will all have to face. I can’t help thinking we wouldn’t be in this mess if we weren’t so willing to allow our politicians to pit us against each other for their own gain, if we had all taken better care of each other along the way, and if we all had just cherished each other a little more.