BY: DELLIA RISMAY
It’s a struggle many of us have faced at one time or another: you’ve had a long, exhausting day at work, and you’ve finally arrived at home, ready to prepare a quick, delicious meal for yourself or your family. But just the thought of dicing, cutting, and chopping up fresh ingredients makes you even more tired. Well, you can put your knife and cutting board away, because Tis The Seasoning is here to help!
Tis The Seasoning is the brainchild of Susan Amres, a Property Administrator, and mother of four. Her inspiration for the product came from her household’s busy lifestyle, and the steps she would take to have dinner prepared for everyone each evening. However, Susan eventually realized that there was an opportunity to have all of her family members involved in the process. “Selfishly, I would rush home and make the meals, and then I realized my kids didn’t share that passion because they thought it was just a lot of work to cut up all the stuff to get it ready. So, then I got the idea that I’ll cut all these onions and garlic, and all the seasonings and prepare it, and freeze it, so that when it’s time for them to cook, then they can just pop it out of the freezer into the skillet and they’re ready.”
With her Guyanese roots, Susan says some of the inspiration for Tis The Seasoning also comes from her West Indian background. “When we prepare meals, we do not just use powders and salt. We actually have fresh onions, garlic, pepper, thyme. Everything is cut up fresh, every single time. And that is what I’ve done here, except I’ve put it in a recipe…it has all these wonderful ingredients together, and no matter what you’re cooking, it’s a great base,” she says.
Time-saving, ease, convenience, and delicious flavors are what Susan and her husband, who does the company’s printing, aim to provide to their customers. Susan says that by using Tis The Seasoning, she can have a meal ready in as little as twenty minutes, shaving off 70% of her meal preparation time. In a world where twenty-four hours never seems to be enough to get everything done, Tis The Seasoning aims to add a little bit more time back into your day. Instead of chopping away, you simply open up your freezer, grab a pack, and you’re on your way.
Susan’s home isn’t the only place she’s had kitchen experience: she was a caterer in the past, and she has also taken a culinary course at George Brown. She was enrolled in a pastry chef program, where she made ‘Cake Boss’ style cakes. “The customers loved it,” she recalls, “but I wasn’t getting the satisfaction that I needed because my passion really is savory meals. That’s when I switched to spending more time preparing meals. And not just any meals. It must taste great, it must be good food and it must be nutritious. So, based on all of that, I came up with this idea that I’m going to make this product that’s going to be easy to use by everyone, including children.”
Those with younger children who are eager to help out in the kitchen are, understandably, often hesitant to allow them to get too involved in the food preparation process. Sharp knives and grating boards can be a safety hazard for little ones. Instead of having to shoo them out of the kitchen so they don’t get hurt (and potentially dampen their enthusiasm about cooking), Tis The Seasoning’s pre-chopped ingredients make it easy, safe, and fun for them to get involved.
While Tis The Seasoning is great for the whole family to use, Susan understands that it would be particularly appealing to young adults, who know the importance of healthy eating but often do not have the time to prepare a home-cooked meal. On the occasion that they do have the time, she wants them to know that Tis The Seasoning can be a healthier choice than the average seasoning method. “There’s lots of seasonings on the shelf in West Indian stores. You can have a whole row…but those ones on the shelf have fillers. They have corn starch and preservatives that keep them on the shelf. This does not. This is one hundred percent all-natural,” she says.
Wondering how the seasoning mix stays fresh if there are no preservatives involved? It’s all thanks to the combination of a special blend of ingredients, and a flash-freezer. “There’s olive oil in there, and lemon juice,” she explains. “They’re natural preservatives. You can make a pickle, you can marinade stuff in olive oil, it stays for a long time.” In the commercial kitchen where Tis The Seasoning is made, the all-natural seasoning is flash-frozen and sealed.
In line with her philosophy of creating a product that is as healthy as possible, many of the ingredients that go into the mix are locally grown. In fact, Susan grows her own peppers and thyme right in her backyard. She gets onions and garlic at her local grocery store, and she always insists on using organic ginger; nothing else will do. “I find that the flavor is more intense…organic ginger is really small, very skinny, but it has a really strong flavor,” she explains.
Tis The Seasoning can be found at select West Indian grocers, such as Charlie’s West Indian food, located in Mississauga, G. Prasad Caribbean & Oriental Specialty Foods Inc. in Etobicoke, and ASA Meat & West Indian Bakery, in Brampton. And as if the product itself wasn’t convenient enough, if you’re in the GTA, you can also get it delivered straight to your door. Orders can be placed via Facebook, email, the company’s website, or by phone.
A seasoning mix that focuses on flavor, can be used in everything from roti to chow mein, is preservative free, and can be delivered directly to your home? That’s the Tis The Seasoning experience. As Susan says, Tis The Seasoning is “ready when you’re not!”