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Thread: The Spice Thread

  1. #1
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    The Spice Thread

    Was trying to find some Cajun blackened seasoning the other day and had to empty the entire contents of nearly two shelves of spices before finding it. It was waaay in the back. I noticed there were several other spice containers in that long forgotten region of the cupboard such as: cream of tartar, ‘hamburger seasoning’, mace, annatto (whatever the hell that is), and imitation vanilla flavoring (we have a big bottle of the real thing that’s conveniently accessible in front). Perhaps it’s time to cull a few of those little used spices – maybe apply the same ‘three year rule’ that goes with any other household item during spring cleaning.

    I never really took formal stock of it before, but I guess we have a lot, I mean a LOT, of spices in our kitchen. Dried spices tend to keep their potency for many years so if we did some major spice cleaning out it would probably be more a function of space than due to the degradation of the product (but Haysoos, annatto? we haven’t used it once since we moved in 10 years ago!). I remember one time some years ago Mrs. M went to some pains to arrange the spices alphabetically on the shelves, but that turned out to be a somewhat inconvenient arrangement as things like, well, annatto that were never used ended up being in front and things like white pepper (which we use with some frequency) got shoved in back. No, I guess the current Darwinian spice-organization-model is probably the one that works best.

    We didn’t start out with an entire spice cupboard, and in fact have a couple of nice looking spice racks (which are arranged alphabetically) which we started out with that hold about a score of spice bottles a piece. The problem with those, however, is that they don’t hold larger bottles – things that get some usage like: seasoned salt, cinnamon sugar, sage, and bay leaves. Those ended up in the cupboard and reproduced when we weren’t looking and gave birth to things like Sam’s Club sized peppercorns containers, chicken and beef bullion cube containers, and some of the vacuum-sealed cayenne, dill, and parsley that came out of the garden. They simply require more space to accommodate than a standard spice rack has.

    So how about you – do you do enough cooking at home to warrant having spice storage beyond salt & pepper shakers? What spices find themselves in heavy use/rotation at your house? Which spices collect dust? What is the OLDEST container of spice in your household? And does anyone know of a good recipe maybe for annatto cake?

    Tell us about your spice racks.

    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  2. #2
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    We have several years old containers of those spices that don't get much play: sage, allspice, basil, etc. The lemon pepper, garlic powder, cumin, and oregano have a pretty fast turnover.

    Absolute necessities are: Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning, Cajun Power Garlic Sauce, Crystal Hot Sauce, and Zatarain's Liquid Crab Boil.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  3. #3
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    I absolutely have to have salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, tyme, oregano, cumin, corriander, chipotle powder and chile powder.
    Children in the back seat can cause accidents - and vice versa.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Plus
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    A difference kind of spice -

    In this time, the most precious substance in the universe is the spice Melange.

    The spice extends life. The spice expands consciousness. The spice is vital to space travel.

    The Spacing Guild and its navigators, who the spice has mutated over 4000 years, use the orange spice gas, which gives them the ability to fold space. That is, travel to any part of the universe without moving.

    Oh, yes. I forgot to tell you. The spice exists on only one planet in the entire universe. A desolate, dry planet with vast deserts. Hidden away within the rocks of these deserts are a people known as the Fremen, who have long held a prophecy that a man would come, a messiah, who would lead them to true freedom. The planet is Arrakis, also known as Dune.
    Thank You http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0087182/quotes
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    Do you do enough cooking at home to warrant having spice storage beyond salt & pepper shakers? Yes... although I definitely don't cook as much as I used to.

    What spices find themselves in heavy use/rotation at your house? Black pepper, crushed red pepper, cayenne, basil, oregano, cumin, coriander, thyme, parsley.

    Which spices collect dust? The exotic Indian spices I purchased during a brief foray into Indian cooking (I still love Indian food, I just wasn't happy with my own concoctions). And the baking spices, since I rarely bake anymore.

    What is the OLDEST container of spice in your household? Not sure if this is technically a spice, but I once purchased a big bag of Chinese dried peppers for Szechuan-style cooking, transferring the lot to an empty spaghetti sauce jar. The jar is now about 1/3 full. I'm not sure whether I bought the dried peppers when I bought my first house (1990) or sometime during my college years, when I used to make a Kung Pao Chicken recipe I called Killer Chicken.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian rcgplanner's avatar
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    Must have spices for me include:

    hot sauce
    cajun spice
    dried onions
    italian seasoning
    red pepper
    garlic powder
    salt
    pepper
    chile powder

    Less Used:
    baking powder
    baking soda
    vanilla extract
    almond extract


    Used Once a Year:
    cream of tarter
    pumpkin pie spice

    Oldest spice in the cabinet:
    An awful container of "steak seasoning". This stuff was almost pure salt, terrible. Have had it for about 5 years now.

  7. #7
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    heavy usage: salt, pepper, oregano, tobasco, thyme, chili powder, garlic powder, seasoned salt, bullion cubes, dill weed, hungarian paprika.

    moderate usage: bay leaves, caraway seeds, cumin, coriander, parsley flakes, onion powder, chives, basil, cinnamon sugar.

    infrequent usage: sage, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, dried hot peppers, liquid extracts, garlic salt, celery salt, allspice, cream of tartar

    dust collectors: annatto, spearmint extract, mace, blackened seasoning
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  8. #8
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Our spice rack



    I don't do anything right.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    ...dust collectors: annatto, spearmint extract, mace, blackened seasoning
    What IS mace, anyway? It doesn't sound like something I would want to ingest!

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
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    I use salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, sesame seeds are all used quite often. Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning is a staple. When I went to college it was the only spice I packed. Of course back then cooking was a mystery.

    The orogano is collecting dusk. I ruined a sagetti sause with too much and I cannot look a the container without it turning my stomach.
    "If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less" General Eric Shinseki

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    RJ I like the glass spice mixing bowl that's under the Italian seasoning. There are even places to rest the tiny mixing spoons. Where can I get one of those?

    I use a lot of ginger, cloves, cinnamon, white pepper, black pepper, oregano, vanilla, anise (seed and oil), cayenne, paprika, Cajun seasoning. Yes, I use cream of tartar if I'm out of baking powder. I infrequently use sage, poultry seasoning and caraway. Most are on a couple of lazy Susans in the pantry.

    Isn't annato a food coloring?

  12. #12
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by kms View post
    RJ I like the glass spice mixing bowl that's under the Italian seasoning. There are even places to rest the tiny mixing spoons. Where can I get one of those?
    LMAO! Dang near spewed on the keyboard!
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  13. #13
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by kms View post
    RJ I like the glass spice mixing bowl that's under the Italian seasoning. There are even places to rest the tiny mixing spoons. Where can I get one of those?.......
    Sweetheart, those are ashtrays that I don't use anymore. But you know that.
    U Butthead.
    I don't do anything right.

  14. #14
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    I have an entire spice cabinet

    I cook a lot and I tend to cook a lot of non-western type dishes so I have a very wide selection of herbs and spices. I tend to buy in bulk at the middle eastern and Indian stores and use both powdered and whole versions of many spices and herbs to a lesser degree.

    Heavy use: coriander, cumin, turmeric, cloves, cardamom (previous 4 in both powder and whole form), chili powder, salt, pepper, Lawry's seasoned salt, thyme, basil, oregano, peppercorn

    Medium use: chinese 5 spice, dill, cinnamon, rosemary, ginger powder, allspice, nutmeg.

    Low use: sage, garlic/onion powder, asafoetida, whole chilies, amchur, jaggery, and others I am forgetting.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    We cook quite a bit from scratch but I don't happen to have many spices on hand right now. We keep sea salt, organic peppercorns and a grinder, vanilla extract, cinnamon, organic paprika. I sometimes have other things on hand, like garlic powder or nutmeg. But these days I am more likely to have whole garlic cloves, onions, red peppers and jalapenos on hand than I am to have garlic powder, onion powder...etc.

    Our few spice bottles are lined up neatly on the small natural "shelf" at the top of our range. Whole garlic cloves are sometimes found in a small bag on the counter. Whole onions and peppers are sometimes found in the fridge.

    Oddly, I eat much spicier food than I used to but have fewer spice bottles around.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    Ahh, The Spice Of Life.....

    In this Bear's house.....

    Heavy Rotation - Pepper, Cumin, Sage, Garlic, Cinnamon, Poultry Seasoning, Red Pepper, Chili Powder

    All others, not very often.

    Ya, I know....a pretty conservative list. I live a sheltered (not much spice) life.

    Bear
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  17. #17
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Mud Princess View post
    What IS mace, anyway? It doesn't sound like something I would want to ingest!
    I think it's part of the nutmeg plant (tree).

    Edit: I poked around the cupboard at my dad's place last night. He pretty much has subsisted on sandwiches and dines at restaurants every day since mom died. Anywho, I spotted a container of Durkee's ground ginger in the cupboard that I know for a fact my mother used back in the late 1960's! Looked just like this

    Last edited by Maister; 29 Sep 2009 at 9:47 AM.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  18. #18
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    I think it's part of the nutmeg plant (tree).

    Edit: I poked around the cupboard at my dad's place last night. He pretty much has subsisted on sandwiches and dines at restaurants every day since mom died. Anywho, I spotted a container of Durkee's ground ginger in the cupboard that I know for a fact my mother used back in the late 1960's! Looked just like this

    Nutmeg is the seed of the nutmeg tree. Mace comes from the lacy web covering the seed which is dried and powdered.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  19. #19
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    In no special order. I made a list and then split that into frequency of use, quick and dirty.

    Heavy Use

    Bay leaves, basil, marjoram, oregano (leaves), black pepper (ground), black pepper (whole), parsley, paprika (Spanish smoked sweet, bitter-sweet, and hot), rosemary, saffron, salt

    Moderate use

    Star anise, cardamom (ground), cardamom (whole), caraway seed, celery seed, chipotle powder, chili powder, Spanish blend chili powder, cilantro (dry) chives, cloves(ground), cloves (whole), cinnamon (ground), cumin(ground), coriander (ground), garlic (powder), curry powders (various, including garam masala), dill weed, ginger (ground), , mustard seed, mustard (ground – regular, hot, English), nutmeg (ground), oregano (ground), white pepper (ground), paprika, paprika (Hungarian hot), cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, sage, sesame seed, savory, thyme, lavender, Old Bay seasoning, kofta kebab mix, ras el hanout

    Infrequent use

    Allspice, anise, celery salt, cinnamon (stick), chervil, coriander (whole), garlic(granulated), garlic salt, fennel seed, dill seed, juniper berries, herbes de provence, mint leaves, orange peel, green peppercorns, poppy seed, poultry seasoning, tarragon, turmeric, safflower, Chinese five spice, Italian seasoning, Greek seasoning, Thai seasoning, Caribbean jerk seasoning, barbecue seasoning, lemon and herb seasoning, lemon and pepper seasoning, Cajun seasoning, hickory smoked salt, Creole seasoning, pizza seasoning, horse radish powder, mint extract, vanilla extract, almond extract, sugar (various).

    Rare use

    Salt substitute, salt free spicy pepper seasoning.

    The salt substitute and the salt free seasoning are the oldest. About fifteen years ago, I spent about three years trying to reduce my blood pressure through diet, including very limited salt consumption. It did not work. Drugs worked. But I have kept the salt substitute and the salt free seasoning. Because I sometimes need to accommodate someone who is avoiding salt.

    Of course, many of the other herbs and spices are salt free. The seasonings often contain salt, as do many of the blends, including a lot of curry powders and chili powders (but not the garam masala or Spanish blend).

  20. #20
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    We use a lot of garlic, garlic powder, black pepper, red pepper, cayenne, chili powder, smoked paprika (La Dalia brand from Spain), oregano, basil, thyme, fennel seed, cumin, tabasco, rosemary (fresh and dried), curry powder (S&B brand).

    Sometimes use coriander, sage, cloves, cinnamon, ginger (ususally use fresh).

    Don't use salt.

    Oldest: tie between several crab boils.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    I noticed there were several other spice containers in that long forgotten region of the cupboard such as: cream of tartar, ‘hamburger seasoning’, mace, annatto ...
    Yesterday my mother pulled my cream of tartar 3 oz. bottle off the shelf and said "You know this is a lifetime supply, don't you?" Of course, it goes bad, but the point still stands, I rarely use the stuff, unless I'm having fish.

    I like a store called the Spice and Tea Exchange, and they have lots of blends, several of which I now couldn't live without. It's so easy to put them on almost anything and have a tasty meal. Aside from those blends and a few others, my favorites are:

    Chili powder, several kinds
    Cumin
    Cayenne pepper
    Rosemary
    Garlic in any form
    Garam masala and various curry powders
    Cilantro, but I only buy it fresh--it's the one thing I'll pay a lot more for
    Ginger

    Medium use:
    Cinnamon
    Nutmeg
    Paprika
    Cloves

    Dust collectors:
    Parsley
    Basil (I love fresh basil and now the stuff in the jar is just like paper flakes to my tongue...and I eat a lot of those)
    Oregano
    Sage--What is this even for? Turkey? Anything else?
    Thyme


    One of my favorite treats is mac n cheese with Cayenne pepper and chili powder so I tend to use a lot of those, especially if I'm eating alone.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian cellophane's avatar
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    tabasco.

    (10 chars)

  23. #23
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tresmo View post
    Sage--What is this even for? Turkey? Anything else?
    When I'm making fake sausage (ground turkey and a whole lot of spices), I use mucho de sage.

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