Monday, April 12, 2021

Hello Alaska, an Herb Expert Misses You!

By Cal Orey

Herbs and spices play a big role in my life and well-being in California. In December 2019, pre-pandemic era, my solo expedition en route from Lake Tahoe to Alaska aka “The Last Frontier” finally happened.  As I traveled through hurricane-force winds, an almost flight diversion to Fairbanks, I anticipated fresh and exciting seasonings, northern lights, and a moose sighting. Sometimes, fantasies are healthier than real life...

In Anchorage at 9:00 a.m., I sat in my hotel room bed on the seventeenth floor overlooking downtown, and Chugach Mountains—but it was dark. The city was shut down due to icy roads, no snow. It was the warmest day since 1952.

I called room service. No freshly squeezed orange juice with fresh mint sprigs or coffee lattes with fresh spices. You will not likely find garden-fresh herbal treasures in December. Blame it on the lack of sunlight. Fresh food is expensive if it’s imported. And that’s not all . . . 

The last night I was nursing a sore throat. Blame it on frigid air blowing down on my bed in a pricey suite. I went with the flow… ordered a Greek pizza. It had chunks of real garlic! Another herbal highlight of the Alaska adventure was finding an artisan chocolate shop. I bought a peri-cayenne pepper truffle, caramelized pear saffron chocolate, and a white square of chocolate with pink peppercorn. The cayenne and dark chocolate gave me the gift of those feel-good endorphins and soothed my raw throat that hurt when swallowing. Both garlic and cayenne made me feel better.


Inside My Seasoned Cabin for One Year

            These days, I’m dreaming about revisiting Alaska. Ironically, it will be Fairbanks to view the green and blue colored sky also known as the aurora borealis. And dried herbs, such as the parsley, pepper, and paprika will suffice. It took a trip to up north to Alaska for me to appreciate fresh seasonings year-round that I have right at home inside my cabin. But dried herbs and spices are fine. You can’t always get what you want but you get what you need. 

Cal Orey, M.A. Is an author and journalist. Her books include the Healing Powers Series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee, Tea, Superfoods, Essential Oils, Herbs and Spices) published by Kensington. (The collection has been featured by the Good Cook Book Club.) Her website is

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