The Maynard Library is helping residents spice up their winter with their newest club.
The Spice Club will hold its first meeting Jan. 27, kicking it off with ginger – candied, ground and ginger root.
“I wanted things that are not too exotic, but might broaden someone’s horizons,” said Sally Thurston, organizer of the club. “We started with ginger because it’s used in a wide variety of cultures.”
The premise is simple enough – spices, in different variations are packaged in kits along with some sample recipes for people to take and cook when they have time.
The club is an offshoot of the library’s popular Cookbook Club, which began in 2016. Members of that club choose a different cookbook every month and members prepare a recipe from the book to make and share with club members. They typically meet Monday at noon for a potluck lunch, although that has become a to-go lunch because of the pandemic.
“Since the beginning, we’ve known there were other people who might want to be involved but it didn’t work with their schedules,” Thurston said.
Take-and-make kits seemed to be the perfect solution.
Thurston packages up the spice kits herself, choosing sweet and savory recipes that don’t require special ingredients and appeal to a range of skill levels.
The club is a way to introduce people to spices they might not normally use without the investment, she said.
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January recipes ran the gamut from baked goods, such as Glazed Lemon-Ginger Scones and Banana Bread with Chocolate and Crystallized Ginger, to savory items, such as Braised Ginger Meatballs in Coconut Broth and Ginger Scallion Noodles. Those who want to try something simpler can try the Lemon Ginger Spritzers with Fresh Mint or Cinnamon Ginger Candied Walnuts. For those who prefer to cook without meat, the recipe for Roasted Squash and Tofu with Ginger and Garlic just might fit the bill. There are several additional recipes as well.
“I’m trying to find things that appeal to different kinds of cooks. Go to it and have fun,” Thurston said.
An optional Zoom meeting held at the end of the month will give cooks a chance to talk about what they prepared and share ideas.
People are encouraged to share their finished products – successes and failures — on the library’s Facebook page (@maynardpubliclibrary) using the hashtag #maynardspiceclub.
February’s spice will be cardamom and kits will be available on Feb. 7 followed by a Zoom meeting on Feb. 24.
For more recipe ideas people can get an e-card to use the Boston Public Library to access the database “A to Z World Food,” Thurston said.
Instructions to sign up for the e-card, or to register for the Spice Club can be found at maynardpubliclibrary.org/spice.
More about ginger
Ginger is the dried knobby-shaped rhizome of the plant Zingiber officinale indigenous to Southern China. Ginger is often referred to as a root, but technically rhizomes are underground stems.
Ginger is one of the most used spices in the world and comes in numerous forms, including fresh, dried, pickled, preserved, crystallized, candied, and powdered/ground.