This was me back in 2003 waiting for "spices" to be stocked in our supermarket, other than Croatia's most famous export VEGETA.
I was lucky enough to grow up in the beginnings of a multicultural Australia.
My parent's generation was quite sceptical of "different" foods, but my father had lived in Japan for 8 years after the war and my mum had worked in the first "Italian Cafe" in Sydney so both had been apart of the day to day living of another culture.
During the 60s the Aussie breakfast/lunch/dinner was typically very "English" which I would describe basically as BLAND. When my family moved to Port Moresby, PNG in the late 60s we became a part of the Expat community there. Overnight our kitchen pantry became stocked with new and exotic foods, weekends were spent devouring buffets of food from around the world.
Indian, Chinese, Japanese, German, Dutch, Polynesian, Indonesian every family would bring their own dishes from home and we would all eat together. I was in heaven and didn´t realise it.
I travelled the world and also spent several years working on Cruise ships that catered for all nationalities on board. My taste buds had become accustomed to FLAVOUR.
Moving to Dubrovnik in 2003 I found myself in a quandary, there were herbs and spices, of course, the Mediterranean variety which I love, unfortunately, nothing Asian, definitely no Indian and not a chilli to be found.
If I had anyone visiting from Australia, America or England my wish list would always be the same - spices, gravy powder, ginger and CHILLI. I would guard these ingredients like my children, I stored them high up in the cupboard so the boys couldn't accidentally spill them and I used them sparingly.
The few spice mixes available were heavily loaded with salt or preservatives, what I did notice however was that many of these packaged herbs also grew in people's gardens. I began drying my own herbs, I would mix them with my "pantry stash" and create my own mixes. For years, friends would ask me how did I find curry powder or taco mix. I was making my own, then I began sharing and gifting them.
For a couple of years, we rented our apartments on Airbnb. I often made welcome food platters and would use my herb and spice mixes on our BBQs, guests constantly asked for the recipe. One of my guests suggested I sell the herbs and home products, as souvenirs. she noticed a huge void in the availability of authentic homegrown souvenirs.
It took a few more years before I built up the courage to open my kitchen as a business. In December 2019 I officially registered Mikkiś Croatian Kitchen. This mother may not have invented anything however this has and always will be a labour of love.