Josh and Brent's Spice Cabinet

As spices made their way to the shores of the New World and then passaged up the Hudson River, William Beekman would be waiting for them at the big port of Albany.   He would carry them like precious cargo back to his mercantile near Sharon Springs.

William and his wife Joanna lived well into their 70s—a grand accomplishment in the early half of the 1800s.

Here are 4 reasons you should learn from the Beekmans and spice up your life a little

  1. Spices such as ginger, garlic, and fenugreek reduce the amount of fat we absorb at a meal
  2. Chili increases the metabolic rate, burning fat faster
  3. We all know that “fat” tastes good, but when you cook with spices, you need much less fat to make food interesting and flavorful
  4. Spices and strongly aromatic foods send signals to the satiety center in the brain which can prevent over-eating.

At Beekman 1802, we like to throw unusual flavors into things:  habanero peppers in caramel sauce?   A chai blend in your hot chocolate?  Black pepper in sorbet?  A little thyme with your cheesecake?

What type of spice trade-outs have you used?  Inspire us!

by Dr. Brent

Reader Comments

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Sue Lyssa

Try lavender thyme mead or a cinnamon orange spice tea mead (honey wine). When making your own mead you can skip the sulfites by using the orange & cinnamon oils to kill off the yeast. Much healthier to drink and cheaper to get than French wines. Also try apple cyser.

Apple pie with a layer of sweet red bean paste is an unusual treat.

Connie Wedding

To Robert Platt—I DID mention not to give dogs chocolate. You must have overlooked it. 🙂 In lieu of giving chocolate to pets, please send all chocolate to ME. LOL


I love to use hungarian paprika….added to bean with bacon soup (homemade of course) it gives an added depth of flavor.


I put rosemary in everything from sweet to savory. I've read that if you drink rosemary as a tea it can soothe a migraine. I find it kinda works for me. Btw- my family has been putting Old Bay on everything for as long as I can remember, have you ever tried it on popcorn? You don't miss the butter at all!

rob platt

Connie – also never give chocolate to dogs, although my fox terrier once ate a pan of brownies with no ill effects.

Terry Corigliano

Tequila-cilantro sorbet

1 1/4 cups whole milk ( goat milk ? )

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 cup coarsley chopped cilantro

1 cup fresh lime juice

3/4 cup favorite tequila

pinch salt

Bring the milk,water,sugar and cilantro to a boil,stir to dissolve the sugar. Transfer to stainless steel bowl and set in ice water.

In blender puree the mixture. Strain. Stir in the lime juice, tequila and salt.

Freeze in ice crean maker. Transfer to shallow bowl and put in freezer, about an hour.

Food and Wine June 2003

Connie Wedding

Was reading that Doris gives her horses garlic to keep horse flies at bay, and was just wanting to warn people never to give garlic to cats, or onion, or anything seasoned with them….or any related root veggies, green tomatoes, raisins, grapes, or chocolate. Milk won't kill them, but it upsets their stomach, and they do not need milk once they become adults, anyway. Just water. For dogs, avoid letting them have alcohol, bones from fish or poultry, or other meats, chocolate, citrus, fat trimmings, fish of any kind, grapes, raisins, currents, hops, human vitamin supplements with iron, macadamia nuts, pot, all dairy products, spoiled foods and garbage, mushrooms, onions, garlic, persimmons, peach and plum pits, raw eggs, raw meat, rhubarb leaves, salt, sugary foods, xylitol (artificial sweetener),tobacco, yeast dough, and table scraps in large amounts. (Don't know why anyone would try to give their dog most of the things listed here, but you never know about some people.) For horses, avoid giving them avocados, onions, potatoes, persimmons, tomatoes, rhubarb, peppers, and any relatives of the nightshade family. There are tons and tons of plants poisonous to horses, and anyone with horses should Google the list, to make sure they have none of those in the area where the horses can graze.


Interesting! I always put crushed black pepper (fresh) into the sweet crepe batter, when Mrs. Weekendfarmer is not looking. I think it brings out a great contrast. Also, we put cumin in some of the Benagli sweet dishes.

The other day I thought it might be interesting to put lavendar blossoms into the ice-cream maker when we are making vanilla ice-cream.

Nice spice rack : )!


I give my cows and horses garlic and it keep the nasty horse flies off them. Also, the more garlic I eat the more I can stay outside with the mosquitos having dinner on me!!. I find it one of the easiest herb to grow, I go to abandoned farm and dig it up to replant and share with others who prefer heritage herb and vegetables. Have ya'll ever thought about adding herbs to your cheese? You and Josh are two of the luckiest people I know living your dream with someone you truely care about. I'm JEALOUS!!


Salt and pepper are always great on canteloupe and salt especially on watermelon. We can't serve eggs in our house without Old Bay—obviously a combination of spices—but whether a fried egg or whole boiled one, it's great.


dear brent black pepper in brownies is very good, brings the chocolate flavor out so much more… see you soon take care

Nicole Price

How about toasting your whole black peppercorns and then crushing them with a mortar and pestle, cooked down with some fresh maple syrup and strained? I found the recipe some years ago in Gourmet mag – it was delicious. It's a chicken dish. If you like I'll dig it out and send it your way.


BTW, we miss Dr Brent's blog.

Why the silence?

Speak to us, Dr Brent!

We're listening…


Here's one that I think lots of folks know – an oldie but goodie: freshly ground black pepper on fresh strawberries (just seems to bring out the strawberry-ness). And I've made rosemary-infused panna cotta with blackberry sauce and fresh blackberries – sounds odd, but tastes wonderful. Can't wait to see what other readers share.

Dr. Brent

You know what, John? I've never tried strawberries and pepper. Can't wait to give it a try. I may add a little dash of balsamic, too