IMG_2112 I remember the first time I saw a container of crushed red peppers sitting benignly on the table at Tony’s Pizza in Salina, Ks. I was a teenager and this was my first experience with an “exotic” spice. Years later I began to cook and I would add it hesitantly into Italian dishes. Now it is my go addition; an addition whenever I want a full flavored dish- Italian or not.
When I use it I am reminded of how I passed through a portion of my life living beige. Everything about me was beige- my clothes, my home, my creative endeavors, and my food. I think of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, cream gravy and biscuits. Very, very good, very, very beige, and very, very me.
As I grew into a person of some self confidence ( walking through a whole lot of fears) color began to be incorporated into my life; a red scarf, a blue pillow, and a rainbow of fruit in a bowl on my dining table. Today you may recognize me from the colorful scarfs that I love to wear.
Back to red pepper flakes. So I made up a batch of fociccia dough and scoured the refrigerator for toppings finding Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. The only other things I needed was flavoring- sliced tomatoes, red and yellow peppers, white onions, coarse sea salt, pepper, seasoning salt, crushed red pepper flakes, and a drizzle of olive oil. Beige dough became bountiful with flavor.
It’s amazing how walking through fears and adding color/flavor can bring joy to our lives.

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