One of my favorite writers in the blogosphere is none other than S. Irene Virbila, the Los Angeles Times‘s head food critic. Her reviews are known for their brutal honesty (“It may be all right for a drink, but the confusing concept, lame cooking and general ineptness make Hidden a no-go zone for anybody who cares about food.”) and their terse, understated outbursts of approval. (“Fun.”) Personally, I love reading them. But what’s even better are S. Irene’s occasional posts to the LAT‘s food blog, Daily Dish. Her recent New Years entry, a lush glimpse into her world of fireside caviar binges and Provencal daubes, was an instant classic, but now, it seems as though The Virbs may have outdone herself.
In today’s Daily Dish, Virbila extols the virtues of spices, specifically those which boast a certain tactile interactivity:

“I love sitting at the kitchen table, opening up cardamom pods and spilling the seeds out onto a plate. Or taking a whole nutmeg and grating it into a potato gratin. It’s such a sensual rush.”

AND HOW! Who hasn’t felt the toe-curling, orgasmic thrill of a well-employed microplane? The Virbs then goes on to explain her unorthodox method of keeping her spices unlabeled, thus allowing her to revel in the whimsical joys of sniffing out her unknown quarry. To some readers, this might reek of highfalutin, esoteric crap. To me, it’s glorious.
•New Spices for a New Year [Los Angeles Times]