I learned about spices at an early age. Cooking with my Grandmother, every other sentence was, “did you add any salt?” Needless to say, we had quite a few over-salted dishes. For some reason rice seemed to be my over-salted dish of choice. Since then, I’ve learned a lot about restricting my salt usage, and who to listen to in the kitchen.
So, I’ve put together my list of spices I can’t live without. Please keep in mind, I’m not a baker, or this list would probably be significantly different.
Salt – There are different types of salt and for my purposes, I generally use Kosher salt. It dissolves fast and you can taste it quickly. Makes my over-salting incidents seem like just a distant memory.
Pepper – Again, there are different types of pepper, but I generally use peppercorns and either grind them with the mill or the mortar and pestle.
Cumin – This is one of those spice where a little goes a long way! I like Hispanic food, and it’s a must. It also adds a little something to Asian dishes too.
Garlic – I use fresh garlic too, but I use garlic powder in everything.
Basil – This is a go-to for anything remotely Italian for me. I also use it in marinades. I prefer fresh basil, but dry basil is always in the pantry.
Smoked Paprika – Not regular paprika, but smoked paprika. It’s a little sweet, with a lovely scent. I love it on potatoes or any grilled veggies.
Rosemary – Ground in sauces or whole in marinades. I love the slightly piney taste and it smells delicious!
Oregano – Either Mexican or Mediterranean, I don’t really have a preference. It’s pungent, and aromatic, reminds me of pizza.
Chili Powder – I know that this is a blend of spices, but I use it a lot. I prefer a mild chili powder, I’m not a fan of super spicy food.
Ginger – It’s a little zippy, with a sweet and woody scent.
Addendum: my husband told me to add ketchup to this list… then again, he adds ketchup to everything.