Written by Mary F. Pisarkiewicz

On my food blog here in the States, (www.lovethesecretingretient.net) we conducted a little survey on what spice I should write about next for you folks in ZA. The hands-down winner was CUMIN!

Cumin is so versatile. You can use the plain seeds, toasted seeds or the seeds finely ground into a powder. I love to sprinkle ground cumin on cauliflower before roasting it. When sprinkled on store-bought hummus, with a little drizzle of olive oil, that hummus perks right up. People will think it’s homemade, but it’s just adding a little love to a store bought brand! Cumin works on pork, yummy on grilled skirt or hanger steak and chicken. I have never tried it on fish but you know, I think it’d be great on roasted tilapia fillets. One reader wrote that her husband even sprinkles it on his eggs and omelets! Recently I made a steamed rice recipe with cumin seeds, mustard seeds and butternut squash and it was heavenly! I love the smell of it roasting and steaming.

Our lovely Project Manager, Caitlin, told me about the favorite Mother Goose nursery rhyme that her parents rewrote for her and her 3 sisters, because they were all girls. (I LOVED hearing this story coming from a family of five boys and me!) Here it is.

Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, bakers’ women
Bake me a cake with spices and cumin
Pat it and roll it and mark it with a “C”
And put it in the oven for baby and me!

Isn’t that great?


Each cumin seed is contained within the fruit. The plant is a member of the parsley family and the ancient Greeks kept cumin at the dining table in its own container (much as pepper is frequently kept today), and this practice continues in Morocco. I think I’ll put it on my table too!


Other articles by Mary F. Pisarkiewicz:

Basil in my garden

I love Ginger!

I love Garlic

Garam Masala and Pork Chops

About The Author

My name is Mary Frances. I am a designer, creative director, painter, wife, mother and cook. I own an internationally recognized, award-winning brand development and marketing communications firm in New York City, and am a graduate of Parsons School of Design. I especially love to cook and serve great food to make people content and happy. Hearing mmmm’s makes my heart soar. I grew up in suburban St. Louis, in Webster Groves, the youngest of six and the only girl. (Yes, that’s FIVE older brothers!) My mom was a great home cook, and she made sure that I could make a mean pie from scratch. After Parsons, I married, had two boys and moved from NYC to the NJ suburbs where I threw myself into cooking and entertaining. Now it’s time for me to share the great recipes, tips, stories and LOVE with you. The inspiration for LOVE – the secret ingredient www.lovethesecretingredient.net came from our youngest son when he wrote in a gift cookbook that the one ingredient that was ever-present in my meals was love. When you cook with LOVE, everything just tastes better.

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