The Awl is doing a series of posts on spices called The Anthology of Underrated Herbs. Yes, I'm sure they know spices and herbs are different things. Fran Hoepfner's contribution is paprika, specifically the custom of putting it on cottage cheese, which her parents do. Her entire interview with them about it is in the post.
Me: The Awl is doing a series of pieces on spices, and the best I could come up with, because we’re not an aggressively spice-heavy family, is that you both do a thing where you eat cottage cheese with paprika on it. I wanna know why the heck that is.
Mom: I think the cottage cheese with paprika is me. It’s my twist on it. Your dad would always season deviled eggs with a pinch of paprika.
Mom: Originally, I thought it was Dad who put it on cottage cheese
Mom: I’m saying, somehow Dad got the paprika on the table for me to see it because, as you said, we don’t use a lot of spices. There was no paprika in the house when I was growing up, so Dad definitely brought that into the marriage.
By the end, all I could think of was how sad that people can actually grow up in America without spices. Hoepfner's mom didn't even have salt and pepper on the table when she was child. The only reason they have paprika now was because their son brought some back from a trip to Hungary. How important were spices in your family? I use paprika on quite a few dishes, but I like my cottage cheese with salt, pepper, oregano, and parsley, and maybe a little grated parmesan. Read the rest of the amusing interview at The Awl.
(Image credit: The National Dairy and Food Bureau of Chicago via Cardboard America)