Simplicity in food has come to mean something antithetical to complexity. Simplicity is bad and complexity is good. Simply prepared foods are not delicious and probably lack flavor whereas elaborate, complexly prepared foods have deep flavor. I’m not sure where this idea came from, but it couldn’t be more wrong. By my view, complexity is a hiding place for lesser cooks.
The status of spice knowledge in the Western world has been entirely flabbergasting. The fact that no one in the West—in print or in person—has yet provided anyone else with so much as a theoretical framework around which to base a rigorous spice blending technique is shameful. It is, after all, not just important which spices you add to a dish, but also in what proportions. To date, everything where spices are concerned is entirely ad hoc; literally, chefs standing around, tasting their dishes and thinking, “I guess this could use a bit of clove.” I’ve searched and there is literally not much more available than lone chefs guided by vague tradition and his or her own subjective taste.