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California Ham Spice

From: Maureen 
Sent: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 5:26 PM
Subject: California Ham Spice

I am looking for a recipe for 'California Ham Spice'.  The Spice is used to brine hams before smoking them.

Any help would be appreciated.


Hello Maureen,

Sorry, I had no success with a recipe for making this yourself. The only way that I found it was as a commercial product:
PS Seasoning

Allied Kenco

As for the ingredients, the meager descriptions that I found were these:

“Blended of Sugar-Spice Extractives”
“A blend of salt and spices used to season ham.“
“Spice Extractives of Allspice, Clove, Capsicum, and Cassia on a sugar dextrose carrier.”
“Sugar, Clove Oil, Liquid Cinnamon, Oleoresin Capsicum, and Polysorbate 80”
“Some processors use California ham spice, Western ham spice, or Virginia ham spice. All these are a mixture of cinnamon and clove in a soluble seasoning.”

This product appears to come in two different forms: sugar based and salt based. There was a request for a recipe to make it posted on this message board several months ago, but no one was able to help the requester with a recipe:

Smoking Meat Forum

From the ingredient list, and from the fact that there were no homemade recipes for it on the meat smoking and curing message boards, I would speculate that this may not be something you can make at home. It appears to contain special spice extracts. The product is a powder, but it contains “clove oil” and “liquid cinnamon” - if you mix these at home with the other ingredients, you aren’t going to end up with a powder. Therefore, the commercial product must be specially prepared in a commercial process, not just spices mixed together. There might be something that would give a similar flavor to ham, but just not called “California Ham Spice”. If there was any homemade product on the web that actually claimed in so many words to be like California Ham Spice, then it would have turned up in my search – I checked every instance of “California Ham Spice” that appeared. You might look for just “ham spice” or “ham cure” or “ham brine” with sugar, cloves, allspice, and cinnamon as ingredients. If you want me to search for something like that, please reply.


From: Maureen 
Sent: Thursday, January 12, 2012 11:07 AM
To: Phaedrus 
Subject: Re: California Ham Spice

Please carry on your search as you suggested.  I am not very good in searches.  I seem to find only the product for sale.


Hello Maureen,

Well, as I said before, I can only find California Ham Spice for sale, too, and I cannot find a copycat recipe to make it at home. It does not appear that anyone has tried to duplicate the product in a homemade recipe. I looked for a ham brine that had similar ingredients, but I had little success even with that. If you want California Ham Spice, your best bet is to go ahead and buy it. If you want to make a homemade brine or dry rub cure, then this book has recipes and instructions, If you are willing to experiment, then you could start with the ham brine recipes in that book and tweak them until you develop a brine recipe that is similar to California Ham Spice: "Smoking Food: A Beginner's Guide" By Chris Dubbs and Dave Heberle . You can probably get a copy from

These sites have recipes and discussions about ham curing:

Bay Gourmet

The Smoke Ring

There are some ham brine recipes on these sites. To make them more like California Ham Spice, you would add allspice and cinnamon as needed and omit hot peppers, etc.

Plenty of Fish



Brunswick Stew

-----Original Message----- 
From: glenn
Sent: Friday, January 13, 2012 8:19 AM
Subject: Brunswick Stew recipe

Hi Phaedrus

It's been a while since I've requested a recipe, however, I still so look 
forward to leach of your postings and as in the past, my favorite web site.

I'm looking for a Brunswick Stew recipe that had chicken, pork and beef.  As 
I remember the recipe appeared in a almanac.  It may have have been in 
Griers, Ladies Birthday or one that is purchased in stores.  It was in each 
yearly issue up unto around 1991. Maybe in issues late 60,s, 70,s and 80's. 
I don't remember seeing it after that.  I enjoyed the taste of that recipe. 
I was thinking Griers but can't be certain.



Hello Glenn,

Well, I looked for brunswick stew recipes from Grier's, Ladies' Brithday, and the Old Farmer's Almanac, but had no luck finding anything similar to your description. There are lots of brunswick stew recipes with chicken, pork, and beef, so I'd have to know exactly which almanac or book it was from or something else unique about it to be able to find the specific recipe.

There is a recipe below from "The Foxfire Book" that might be similar.



2 pounds cooked ground beef
1 pound cooked lean ground pork
1 small cooked chicken, chopped
3—4 diced potatoes
1 pint kernel corn
1 cup lima beans
2-3 chopped onions
1 pint tomatoes or tomato
chile powder
black pepper and red
Worcestershire sauce
2-3 diced carrots

The vegetables may be either raw or canned. Mix everything together, and 
simmer a long time. 

Black Licorice Cookies

From: Kristie 
Sent: Thursday, January 12, 2012 6:58 PM
Subject: black licorice cookies


I've used your site many times and every time I visit it, I continue to find great tasting things I'd forgotten about, thanks!

Our family was given some homemade cookies that contained licorice oil (not anise). The cookies were rolled out and cut with a cookie cutter.  
They were thin and crunchy and seemed simple.  We were told they had to get the licorice oil from a pharmacist.  I've searched and searched 
and haven't found any recipes that appeared even close.  The licorice flavor was very strong and was definitely licorice, not anise.  
They were even better with a drizzle of white powdered sugar frosting (but really, what isn't??).  
The person that gave us them to us was happy to share the cookies but not the recipe.  Can you please help?

Thank you so much!


Hi Kristie,

Well, I can’t find any cookie recipe that specifically calls for licorice oil. There are a few that call for licorice or anise oil. I read that anise extract is not good to use in cookies and candy, but that anise oil is good. Licorice oil might be even better. Perhaps this is just a simple sugar cookie recipe with a little licorice oil added for flavor. If so, you might use a recipe for sugar cookies that calls for anise oil, but use licorice oil instead.
Does this recipe come from an ethnic source? Is the person who gave you those cookies of German descent or perhaps Pennsylvania Dutch or Amish, etc? You might try the below recipe, using licorice oil rather than anise oil. I have seen small racks of flavorings near the cash register in some local drugstores, but not all. If you can’t find one in your town, you can order red licorice oil over the Internet. I did not find black licorice oil being sold for use in candy or cookies, just as an aromatic. Black licorice oil has been shown to contribute to high blood pressure in sensitive individuals. I’d recommend that you just use anise oil. For red licorice oil, see:
American Spice Co.


Anise Cookies

1 1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. shortening
2 eggs
1/2 c. milk
1 tsp. anise oil + 1 tsp. vanilla
4 c. flour
4 tsp. baking powder

Sift flour and baking powder three times.  Add shortening to sugar and cream until smooth.  Combine eggs, milk and flavorings.  
Add to shortening and sugar mixture half at a time with flour.  
Roll to thin dough and cut with cookie cutter.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.  

Sphere Magazine Chicken Kiev

From: Mariruth
Sent: Saturday, January 14, 2012 7:42 AM
Subject: chicken kiev 1970's recipe

I have searched all over internet for this recipe to no avail. I am looking for  a recipe from the 1970"s women's magazine publication "Sphere"...
I believe it may have been published by Betty Crocker.  The recipe is for "chicken kiev". It was my now, grown daughter's favorite and in a move 
I lost not only that copy of the magazine, but also my recipe cards.
Thank you in advance for any help,

Hello Mariruth,

I had no success finding a Chicken Kiev recipe from Sphere Magazine. If the recipe is on the web, then it does not mention being from Sphere Magazine.

If you post your request on the Betty Crocker forum, then someone there may be able to help you. There are people there answering requests for recipes from Sphere.

Also, the woman who does this blog says that she has a collection of Sphere Magazines. Her e-mail address in on her site. If you write to her, she might be able to help you.
Her blog is at:
The Culinary Cellar

If the recipe has a unique combination of ingredients, then I might be able to locate it. If you want me to try searching by ingredients, then send me a list of the ingredients that you can recall.


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