We founded our company in 2012 with a devoted pledge to be real, be honest and above all, add amazing flavor to your cooking. Our spice blends are potent…You won’t need as much as you use with regular store-bought spices. A little goes a long way. Our spice blends are LOW SALT, which will be very good for your heart.
Donna and I are very excited to share the flavors of our lives with everyone.
We believe in giving our customers an honest product with the most flavor we can in a bottle. And we don’t sell you a bottle of salt.
Coming soon to our website will be many pictures, videos, and testimonials from our many happy customers.
Please take the time explore this website, we hope you take the time to read our story below. It is a bit long, but it has been a long road to Misty Mountain, and much of it was rough and strewn with spectacular challenges to overcome.
We feel confident once you try Misty Mountain Smoke House spice blends they will be the variety of your life.
Farm work is terrifically hard and dangerous; having grown up with it I am bemused when I hear folks complain about an 8 hour day crunching numbers or those boring meetings. They come home and consume a prefab meal they pull out of the freezer never giving much thought about where it came from. It’s important to remember, another human being, out of love, toiled some of their life away so you could be nourished. However, we feel, just throwing food into you body to stop your tummy from growling is not enough; it should also enrich your soul.
My Aunt Jo looks on with quiet satisfaction; she knows the men are enjoying their meal. She did not produce this meal alone. It took a bevy of women working since sun up to put this together. My Mom, my Grandmother (the boss) and several other farm wives all pitched in. The mid-westerners of that era rarely voiced there approval of much of anything. When they spoke it was pretty matter of fact and directly to the point. “Good food, thanks” was high praise from the men as they wandered into the parlor to digest and nap. Perhaps herbs and spices weren’t predominant in their minds.
Aunt Jo was the flavor of the meal. She was very different from the other farm women yet she was totally accepted by them. She was an immigrant. In fact, she was a war bride from Germany. Before WWII she lived with her family near the Black Forest. She was sent to Paris to attend the Cordon Blu cooking school. In that era it was rare to have a women enrolled, but she trained and learned and then went home to Germany. A Germany now firmly controlled by the Nazis. It occurs to me now, what an adventure it must have been for her. Pre-war Paris was filled with romance and fine wine and was the center of the universe for the most flavorful food in the world. She would not talk about the war years. But she did tell me of escaping thru the wire of occupied Germany to the west in the early 50’s. She was a woman of great courage and intellect and I loved her dearly.
After the noon meal the men would rest for about half an hour and then start back to the fields. Since I was still a bit young to keep up with the men all day, Grandma would hold me back to help the ladies in the kitchen. What a contrast in work. I went from pitching bales to kneading bread for dinner. Always the teachers, my female family members would spend the afternoon showing me all sorts of cooking techniques. Aunt Jo, with her quiet voice and German accent taught me little tricks and let me measure and mix. Her accent always was a source of fascination to me. The flavors she created were a direct link to continental cuisine from long ago. I still remember the noble sauces she could create. This is where my life long love of cooking and creating meals to nourish my family’s bodies and souls began. It took me many years to understand the reason those times were so special. The rhythms of the seasons which dictated the work to be done, a natural division of labor which fit our bodies and minds made for a deeply fulfilling spiritual life. Unquestioned creative freedom allowed me to grow and blossom. Stoic devotion to creating the stuff of life; children, love, and food grown with our own hands. And time to reflect on the meaning of this rich tapestry of life.
Like many children of my generation I was pulled away from the farm. Perhaps, I should say I allowed myself to be lured away by the false prophet of secular humanism. It is one of my regrets in life that I did not know then, what I know now. That at my core, I will always will be a farmer. And now late in my life, returning to my roots, here I am growing herbs and spices for others to enjoy. I have a knack. You have an appetite.
However, if I had not slipped away I would not have met the most amazing friend I have ever had. My best friend is my lovely wife Donna. She has been keeping up (putting up) with me for over thirty years. She is a very stubborn woman. She keeps thinking I will grow up…
Herbs and Spices – California, Texas, Georgia, then back to California
~ Winston Churchill
Like most young people, I truly thought I was bullet-proof and could lick the world. After graduation from high school, I drove across country to seek my fortune. While I was trying to make a living, I was exposed to an entire galaxy of new food. LA had and still has an extremely diverse number of cuisines to enjoy. Being an adventurous eater, I tried them all. I learned about serious pepper heat. I fell in love with Chinese stir fry. I craved tacos and salsa. A plate of Pad Tai was a steaming wonder. A falafel pita sandwich often made a yummy filling lunch. I was in culinary training but did not know it. However the months spent in LA were a massive personal disaster. Not only did I lose everything I owned, I had my heart broke in several pieces. With great failure comes greater wisdom. After returning to Iowa licking my wounds for a long while I decided to try again. This time I ventured forth with a different approach.
Still seeking adventure I moved to Texas so I could begin my carrier as a professional salvage diver. My training had taken me back to southern California. There on a lonely Sunday afternoon, I met Donna. How I got so lucky I will never know. She took some time to win over, but I think she had a soft spot for scruffy lovable rouges. She soon followed me to Texas. Coastal Texas has a different approach to food. Tex-Mex was abundant however, shrimp ruled the culinary roost. When I was home, (I spent long periods at sea) we could go down to the docks and purchase shrimp right off the boats. We never realized what fresh seafood tasted like until then. On the work boats, we would fish for and catch snappers, grouper, barracuda, and dive for spiny oysters and rock lobsters. The Cajun and Creole cooks on those boats knew exactly what to do with those tasty critters. I am forever spoiled on any other kind of seafood. On my journeys across from Freeport to Morgan City and other industrial oil industry docks, the crews I worked with would stop at small village food shacks for food. Often, you could see thru the floor boards to the swamp below. I not sure the most hygienic standards were met but the food was insanely good. Boudan, jambalaya, crawfish, smoked pork, and as always, shrimp. We washed down with gallons of sweet tea.
After getting hurt in a diving accident and told never could never dive deep again, we made the choice to reinvent ourselves yet again. So I enlisted in the US ARMY. Amazingly, the Army doctors never noticed the scar tissue in my chest. Quite different than today. I was stationed at Fort Stewart with the 24th Mechanized Armor Division. Again, when I was home (my unit trained in the field constantly), Donna and I would travel to Savanna for some R&R. Oddly enough, our most frequent hang out was a small funky sushi bar on River Street. Japanese cuisine became a new fascination. This is where I was also introduced to classic southern BBQ. The smell of hickory smoke still does something magical to me.
My mother came to live with us that year. It was the circle of love and caring come around to us. Mom was still able to do as she always did. Feed us. Those farm girl cooking skills never left her. She helped us raise our boisterous and highly energetic children. Massive meals were once again part of our lives as three teenagers and all their friends would descend upon us like ravaging mogul hoards. We wore out two stoves and several refrigerators. The kids grew up strong and hearty. We were blessed to have her with us through those years. We spent countless happy hours together planning meals and cooking together.
Why is cooking food with others so important? The time we spend cooking and sharing the process of creating a nourishing meal bonds us together as few other activities. The conversation, sharing a taste of something, and total focus of all your senses on the moment allows us to swing away from our troubles. The pride of accomplishment as the meal is presented to your loved ones gives deep heart felt joy. All these things create a Zen of emotional and sensory impact. It is a primal need as social creatures, to bond over the fire and nourish our bodies and feed our souls.
Southern California 2009
The Misty Mountains beckon.
For some time after the last of our children moved out to start their adult lives, Donna and I spent more and more time thinking about our future. Our important jobs as parents (the heavy lifting part) was behind us. Before us, lay a new type of freedom. Perhaps new freedom is not quite right. We were rediscovering ourselves as friends and mates. The years of child rearing and working two stressful jobs had left scars and physic damage. Shell shocked. The silence could be overwhelming, especially at night. Slowly, like all empty nesters we started to realize we could draw a breath. We were free to dream. That’s also when the future opened before us and we took a real hard look.
Yikes! That is some scary looking road ahead!
“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.”
“The answer to old age is to keep one’s mind busy and to go on with one’s life as if it were interminable. I always admired Chekhov for building a new house when he was dying of tuberculosis.”
I could not agree more to both of these. There will time enough to rest when I go west for good. Now is my time to make hay.
A New Business is Born
A great friend of ours, who is also a very wise cookie, said to us “Well, you have raised your children, now it is time to raise a business.” She intuitively knows that once you are a parent you never turn it off. We must continue to nurture and nourish.
So, we decided to make a nourishing spice blend which we could share with our friends. We originally wanted to travel the open road selling BBQ sandwiches. Lets face it, Donna and I still have a gypsy spirit deep in our souls. The business would subsidize our travels. This proved to be an impracticable plan, for now. I still hope to get back on the open road again.
I had been trying to come up with a rub which you could put on your grilling meat that would make it taste like real smoked BBQ. I succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. Not that it was overnight process. It took two years to lock it down to the exact flavor profile we wanted. From there, the muse of fire took over and the other three spice blends came to me in waking dreams. I know it sounds crazy but they really just came together like I had always been making them. All those years of tasting and all that cooking with love paid off. Then, at the urging of our friends who enjoyed our spice blends, we created two more: a salmon seasoning and a nuclear powered version of our smoked chili powder.
The Great Spirit of Sacred Misty
I am in the habit of talking long walks after work. I walk for fitness, and to help clear my mind of clutter and stress. We live at the base of ancient foothills thrown up by the San Andreas Fault. In the early winter, angry Pacific storms roll in across the coast. Wispy water laden clouds boil over the tops of these foothills. The clouds form ghostly rivers of mist which sweep across the valley floor to disappear into the desert. My Misty Mountains are a cathedral. It’s where I go to listen to my Creator and reflect.
So, as you can see, Misty Mountain Smoke House is more than a selection of spice blends. It is a way of life for us. We hope it will become a part of your life as well. Our fondest hope is the you enjoy Misty Mountain Smoke House Blends as much as we have enjoyed the journey to creating them.
God bless you and keep you,
And God Bless the U.S.A.
Jeff and Donna Bock