When I was a boy I was intrigued with magic – proper magic, not the rubbishy type like pulling a rabbit out of the hat or inane card tricks. I wanted to make the sort of magic they make in Potions class in Harry Potter movies.  The first time I ever read Shakespeare was to read the ‘double double toil and trouble’ MacBeth speech like a grocery list.  I was always searching for books on making magical concoctions.

The closet I have to achieving this childhood goal is my combinations of herbs and spices viz. culinary magic. I love recipes, particularly those with many ingredients utilizing small amounts of this and that.  Spo-fans know I am crackers for BBQ sauces. I am also keen on rubs, food seasonings, and herbals.  I am a master of marinades.

So far I haven’t turned anyone into a newt.

Our pantry is stocked with herbs and spices. Along with the store bought items, there are my home made concoctions stored in various tins and tupperware containers. As we live in the Southwest, I have plenty of ground peppers in various levels of heat.

There is one fatal flaw; nothing is labeled. Like an idiot, I think I will remember what is in this or that container. This never happens.  Someone will pull out a container and question its contents. Using the “moist finger stuck into the centre” taste test doesn’t usually help other than  ‘sweet’ or ‘tangy’ or ‘hot’.  When in doubt, it’s a rub. When I am more bold, the powders are poured into vinegar and oil to create a sensational mystery salad dressing. Sometimes this actually works. Alas, even when it does work I can’t remember what went into the recipe.

So far I no one has gotten sick.

I suppose I could solve the problem by labeling everything with its basic information of what each is/its use/date of creation. I resist this simple solution somewhat because the mystery is part of the fun; it adds to the ‘magic’ of what will happen if we add this to the fish sauce.

So far Someone has not filed for divorce.

As a treat here are a few Spo cauldron concoctions

Taco Seasoning

  1. 1 tablespoon chili powder
  2. 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  3. 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  4. 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  5. 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  6. 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  7. 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  8. 1 teaspoon salt ( no rubbish)
  9. 1 teaspoon black pepper

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl, turn around counterclockwise 3x, and sprinkle it into the browning ground beef.


Curry Salad Dressing

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon dry white wine

1 teaspoon soy sauce

One-half teaspoon dry mustard

Three-fourths teaspoon curry powder

One-half teaspoon sugar

One-fourth teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

One-fourth cup canola or safflower oil

While chanting the words ‘Greens greens nothing but greens’ mix all the ingredients but the oil into a container with a lid.  Ask Someone to taste it and then ignore his input and add more curry. Then, add the oil and shake well (the dressing, not you).

Pork rub

1/3 cup paprika

1/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons black pepper

2 tablespoons salt

2 teaspoons dry mustard

2 teaspoons cayenne or habanero or whatever dried pepper is in the cupboard the longest and if you don’t use it up I am going to throw it out how many times have we done this why do we keep buying more of the damn stuff when you don’t use it etc.

1 teaspoon white pepper

Guess what? You mix the ingredients together and rub it on the pork chops.

This one is best made on a Friday during a week with a full moon. It is also good not mistake it  for a salad dressing.