Food plays a big role in Max and the Spice Thieves, as it will throughout the Secrets of the Twilight Djinn. Captain Cinn touts, “Bland food is a crime.” 

We take for granted that we can open a drawer and have spices from all around the world at our fingertips. The was a time in history that spice was worth more than gold and was traded between Europe and what was termed the Near East (Asian countries). These routes were very important for economies and commerce. 

As the story goes, Christopher Columbus journey was to find a new route by sea to Asia. When he landed on an island in the Caribbean he thought he had made it to India, but he did not find the spices or markets he was seeking. He was quite a few hundred miles from his destination. 

The variety of dishes, the spices and the “try it you’ll like it” stemmed from my childhood. My mother was a big cook. She worked all day for the Eckerd Drug company and came home and cooked a meal every night. We didn’t eat out until I was older and I was running to rehearsals and performances. 

My mom had an eclectic style. We did not have much money so she would often use spices to make meals more exciting. Salt, pepper, paprika, thyme, basil… She always made her own sauces and gravy. I still cannot find a gravy that reviles hers. Lot’s of stirring and adding a dash of this or that. 

The downside of my mother’s cooking is that while she used base recipes, she often created some of her own creations. Before she passed, I asked her for my favorite recipes, and she laughed because she made them up in her head. No measuring cups or spoons. It was all by taste and feel. Each time she made a dish, even if it was a repeat, it was different. 

I ate all sorts of things as a kid, because she always said, “You can’t say you don’t like it, if you don’t try it.” I used to eat chicken gizzards, duck liver pate and other dishes that now as an adult are not my favorite. I did try them and like them as a kid though. I think it is mostly I learned what I was eating that made me not like them as an adult. 

Try new foods, and flavors because they will open your world and create memories that will remain with you for a lifetime!