Tag Archives: spices

What are spices good for anyhow?

28 Jul
Spices used in cooking

Photo: Library of Congress

True confessions time.  Our family lore is that my father’s ancestors were spice merchants.  In fact my own father was in the spice business for a while. But I grew up in a spice-challenged household. When my mom set up housekeeping, she got spices but I never saw her use any of them except cinnamon.  She kept spices so long that when she moved after my own kids were born, I found her spice shelves filled with containers that she bought when I was a kid.

If you like well-spiced food – or just love a few foods that must use more than salt and pepper to give them that delicious oomph you crave, then let’s get down to business.  Not all spices give food a hot taste – some are delicate but when used properly, give recipes an unmistakable and delectable smell and taste.There are many spices to learn about and many types of cuisine for which spices are indispensable.

Here are a few tips to get you started.

  • Learn how to use a few spices at a time.
  • Decide which ones to learn about based on what type of food you like. Find recipes for dishes you crave and see what spices they use.
  • Spices typically lose their “punch” over time, so don’t buy them in large quantities unless you know that you are going to use them in the next few months.
spices sold in bulk

Spices sold in bulk Photo: Adam Baker

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