Have you ever thought about how powerful the olfactory memory is? Many times, different smells take me back to a particular moment in time — often a childhood memory. Spices have always been around our house. African food needs quite a bit of it! The smell of delicately balanced ginger and cloves will always remind me of the dinners cooked by my mother.
When I moved to the US, the star of all spices seemed to be cinnamon! Particularly, around the holiday season, there was no store that wouldn’t smell of it. It’s quite strong, so I felt I needed to rebalance the spice equilibrium, for cloves and oranges were the frontrunners for me when it came to the holiday season.
Now is the perfect time to make a festive simmer pot! It’s such a comforting home scent when it’s cold outside. I really like how a simmer pot can make any home feel so warm and cozy during this time. And, it’s such simple and easy thing to do. So let’s gather the children, big and small, to enjoy making this simple kitchen activity!
When it’s all done, I like to pour some of the liquid in to an open jar, let it cool off, and take it to another room. Sometimes I light a floating candle on top of it. Then we read, eat a snack or play a game. It’s the perfect excuse to recharge a bit, just to be present after a long day.
Here is what you need to gather before you start:
- Choose your favorite seasonal aromatics: cinnamon, cloves and star anis may be the most traditional but you can choose whatever you like best.
- Then add some seasonal fruit such as a slice of orange or mandarin, a couple of apple slices, and a few fresh cranberries.
- Finally, select some evergreen branches (pine, eucalyptus and rosemary are all good options).
- Place your aromatic selection in a medium size pot. Fill it halfway with water and bring to a boil before reducing to a simmer.
The best part is that you can keep it going for as long as you wish, you just need to keep adding water as it reduces. Turn off the stove when you leave the room: this festive scent will radiate from the kitchen to any room really nicely!
Spreading the joy
Since we can place the dry ingredients in a little jar, this make a perfect little gift! Why not write a little tag with the chosen ingredients and attach it to the sealed jar. We have also chosen to add a pomegranate fruit and a candle to make this little present extra special.
What would you put in to your simmer pot?… I would love to see what selection you come up with. It’s such a nice time to slow down and just enjoy the season.
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