Spice up the Food you Cook!


Bored with cooking and want to spice things up a bit? Or perhaps you’re trying to lose weight or your doctor has told you to stay away from salt. Either way, we’ve got an event coming up for all cooks. There are methods to make food taste flavorful while being healthy, according to a local spice expert. Pat Milliman, owner of Pat’s Pantry in Astoria, will be the guest speaker at our monthly lecture, “Beers to Your Health” at Fort George Brewery.

“Sometimes it’s as simple as a Tuscan seasoning, a Mediterranean blend on oven baked chicken breasts adding flavor without salt. You can bring flavors together in a way that salt does. Lemon or citric acid can achieve that,” Milliman said.

For foodies looking for the next culinary adventure, Milliman says Zahtar; a Middle Eastern spice has been popular in the last few years. And her personal current favorite is Aleppo Pepper, a deep red crushed chili with a bit of heat and a fruity flavor. She takes it out to eat, sprinkling it on her pizza, or mixes it with scrambled eggs for breakfast—adding the spice to anything that needs a pop of flavor.

Milliman owns Pat’s Pantry with her partner Tom Leiner. The couple specializes in custom blends, combining flavors, to make it simple for their customers to add creativity to their standard recipes. The most exciting part of the business is not so much about spice, but about cooking and food in general.

“I love food. I love everything about food. I love cooking it I love talking about it, I love eating it with people, I love reading about it. I read cook books like most people read novels. In this business I get to talk to people about food every day because people are coming in sharing information with me or asking for information. I love that exchange. I’m always amazed in this little town, how many people end up here from all over the world. So I’ve met some really interesting people, and had great conversations about food,” Milliman said.

Beyond her store, Milliman is an active community member, pitching in at local non-profits; a board member of North Coast Food Web and host of “Food Talk” on Coast Community Radio.

You can attend Milliman’s lecture on Thursday January 8th at the Fort George Lovell Showroom (14th and Duane Streets in Astoria). Doors open at 6 p.m. and the talk is from 7-8 p.m. Food and drinks are available to purchase. The event is free and open to all ages.