Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Top Ten Spices Ever

Inspired by Taryn's favorite condiments and the rearrangement of my spice cupboard (had to put chipotle powder in the lineup), here are my top ten spices. I'm only counting dry spices here, arranged (sort of) in order of favoriteness and frequency of use.

1. basil
2. oregano
3. chili powder (the mild stuff)
4. cumin (whole or powdered, depends what I'm doing)
5. red pepper flakes
6. coriander
7. ginger
8. mustard seed
9. rosemary
10. turmeric

Honorable mention goes to:
cayenne pepper and hungarian paprika, nutmeg, allspice, dill, and Luzianne Cajun spice blend.
I'm not counting garam masala even though I use it a lot because I use it in paste form and keep it in the fridge.

Eric would probably add thyme to the list, but I'm actually not a fan. He can write his own favorites list. So there. But really, I'd love to hear everyone's favorites, I love new spices. Yay! Maybe we'll redo pastes and condiments in another post.


  1. what about some good old salt and pepper? they are sad and lonely off your list. -also, i like marjoram. also, i like cumin. also, i like cinnamon. also, i like sage.

  2. oh, maybe i meant tarragon instead of marjoram. hmm. not sure now.

  3. I mostly left off salt and pepper because they go in everything, which gives them an unfair advantage compared to other spices. They're so essential they aren't in the cupboard with the other stuff, they're lined up on the back of the stove. But I like white and green pepper and pink sea salt. Plus, I've been experimenting with kosher salt ever since Taryn mentioned it weeks ago.

    Hmm, I bet Eric likes sage. He likes the more smoky flavors like sage and thyme and hickory flavor and stuff--he also loves the Tellicherry pepper, which I thnk tastes like charcoal.

    We use tarragon sometimes but I only use cinnamon once in a while.

  4. What about garlic?

  5. You know what's weird? I love garlic and we always have a ton of it fresh, but I hardly ever use it dried. I hardly ever use dried onion, either, even though we always have fresh on hand.

  6. Garlic is indispensable for us. I hardly ever use fresh garlic, because I cheat and use the minced garlic you can get in a bottle. And I used to keep a bottle of roasted garlic chips around to use as a garnish on ramen and fried rice and stuff, but it's hard to find. And we always have a bottle of garlic powder on hand for garlic bread.

    Is the stinking rose a spice? An herb?

  7. I'll use the minced in the jar on the rare occasions when I can't find good looking fresh in the store. But I'm usually cutting up veggies anyway so it's not out of my way to chop fresh garlic at the same time.

    Yeah, I tend to call all dried stuff spices, even stuff like basil or mint that I would totally call an herb if it were fresh. So garlic powder=spice in my book, but fresh I don't know. Wait, on cooking shows they call it an 'aromatic.' I don't know how that differs from an herb or spice, though.

  8. yeah, I use garlic-in-a-jar. that's why i didn't mention it. but now that i think about it, what about CILANTRO. yummmmm.

  9. I like to pretend I only use fresh cilantro because it makes me sound like a discerning chef, even though we have a jar of dried that I probably use fairly often.

  10. i use fresh cilantro occasionally, but i use the dried far more often. for some reason they sell fresh cilantro in big bunches which are impossible to use before they go least it's not expensive.

  11. I have the same problem with fresh, so we have weeks where we put cilantro in everything, and weeks when I cheat and use dried.

  12. I guess I ought to try fresh cilantro. Maybe I'll react to it like I did the first time I tried fresh basil. It's like night and day with the dried stuff: I basically never use basil out of a bottle now. It helps that it's really cheap here; fresh basil was fairly expensive in Boston, so I didn't use it that much...

  13. I just realized I made essentially the same comment on another post. I guess I have basil on the brain. Must be time to make pesto.

  14. Yeah, fresh cilantro is much more exciting than dried and it's really cheap here. So I often buy it even when I know I'll have trouble using it all--if I think I'll use at least half the bunch I'll go for fresh. Fresh basil tends to be ridiculously expensive here, though, so I only buy it when I'm doing something big like real pesto or pasta caprese.