Linda Shiue

Food isn’t just about nutrition, it can be inspiration.  

My culinary education began with learning to make quiche in an early French class when I was seven.  That sparked a lifetime of curiosity of the people and cultures behind different cuisines.  My twin passions are food and travel, and I believe that the best way to get to know a culture is to sit down and break bread (or roti, or a bowl of rice or noodles) with the locals.  My stories are about some great meals, but also about the people I’ve shared them with and the places I’ve eaten them, all around the globe.   The second thing I do on a trip (after unpacking my belongings into my new temporary home) is to head to the local market to see what people are buying, eating, and gossiping about.  Aside from some animal parts and insects in general, I am almost always willing and interested in trying local flavors.  I’m kind of a nomad locavore in that way.  But I will also often pack an “emergency kit” of few simple spices– a sea salt grinder, a pepper grinder, and a well-sealed bag of Trinidadian curry powder.  My spice emergency kit ensures that no matter where I am, I can cook a meal that will satisfy our tastebuds and also introduce a part of my family’s culture to new friends.

That’s why I’ve named my blog after the spicebox that is found in the kitchens of Indian homes, called a masala dabba.  A masala dabba consists of a large, flat-bottomed, round steel container in which nest several smaller steel bowls, all covered with a lid.  This traditional spicebox is visually appealing as well as being a convenient and portable way to keep herbs and spices fresh and at hand, wherever you are, when you’re in the mood to cook.

I devote my leisure time to reading voraciously, eating with gusto, traveling, and cooking meals inspired by my travels.    I’ll share with you the stories behind some memorable meals, and the recipes they inspired. Welcome, and please pull up a chair at my table.

Thanks for coming by.  


 -linda shiue

Follow me on Twitter @spiceboxtravels

Goodbye Paleo and Hello DASH Diet: Nutrition in 2014

As we go into our second week of 2014, what's on the forecast in diet and nutrition? The prediction most likely to have already come true is that many people have made "getting in shape" and "eating better" their New Year's resolution. Beyond that, what can we expect to see this year? ...more
I'm not doing any particular diet unless you count focusing on percentages.  I am focusing on ...more

Paleo to Kale: Five Diet and Nutrition Trends from 2013

As 2013 draws to a close, are we any closer to finding the one "best diet" that will bring us optimal health? The year brought us some new trends and revived some ideas from the past.  Here are five popular diet and nutrition trends from 2013 as well as looking ahead to what is in store for 2014. ...more
Love your gluten free ideas!more

Can Desserts Be Healthy? 8 Tips for a Healthier Sweet Tooth, Plus 2 Recipes

Can desserts be part of a healthy diet? ...more
Yes, eating slowly and chewing is underrated.  Thanks for your comment.  Enjoy!more

Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too: Healthy Living Over the Holidays

Many of us may have overindulged a bit more than planned on Thanksgiving, but by now the turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravy are all gone. Let go of any leftover guilt you might be carrying from that day, too. It’s not too late to have a healthy holiday season. You’re probably in the frenzy of gift shopping, vacation planning, and parties at the office, school and at the homes of friends and family. While it should be a time of joy and celebration, the holiday season can also bring on weight gain, stress, and the holiday blues. How to celebrate and not regret it? Don’t wait until New Year’s Day to make a fresh start—follow these simple tips and you won’t need to. ...more
All great advice, Linda. Champagne has fewer calories than Pinot Noir? Good to know!more

A Recipe to Celebrate Girl Scout Cookie Season


A Chouchou by Any Other Name

Belleville: Street Art in Paris

@acookandherbook Thanks for the retweet!more