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Which seasoning/spices to buy?

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For Christmas I want to give my daughter some spices and seasonings - they can get so expensive. Which would be the basic enough to be used fairly often, yet be fun ones for her to get?

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  1. I love herbes de provence... very versatile... wonderful on just about everything, from meats to veggies.

    What a thoughtful gift!

    1. I would give her a storage system, some organized way to hold her
      spices, things she would gradually buy as she is inspired by recipes. You could than consider giving her a good pepper mill and packet of unground pepper as first addition.

      1. Pepper and Pepper mill is good. Maybe that and a big box of Kosher Salt or Sea Salt.

        There are also a lot of spice sets available on-line at Penzys.

        Or for a beginng cook I have seen a big set at Costco which is reasonable.

        1. Here's what I use most often:

          Italian mixed herbs
          Thyme
          Poultry seasoning
          Tarragon
          Turmeric
          Cumin
          Bay leaves
          Cayenne
          Cinnamon
          Paprika
          Oregano
          Nutmeg
          Rosemary

          I'd consider that to be an excellent starter kit of herbs & spices. To save money, buy them in bulk with some bottles, and bottle them yourself. Toss in a spice rack and that's a super gift idea.

          1. I suggest a good pepper mill and peppercorns. Good fresh pepper is useful everyday for everything. I love my Unicorn pepper mill. The pepper gun to get started; the Magnum for serious pepper needs.
            Good list above, add vanilla if she bakes.

            1. Is she currently a cook? does she have a good cookbook or recipes? What kinds of things is she likely to be making?

              Without knowing more, I think the pepper and peppermill suggestion is a good one.

              1. Btw, it is more frugal to buy the smallest quantities of things you don't use a lot of within a year. Bulk purchases are a waste of money with herbs and many spices because their flavor profiles diminish over time. It's usually best to buy the smallest containers except for things you use with great frequency.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Karl S

                  everybody always recommends herbs and herb blends in these contexts, but I find I have lots of containers of aging and musty dried herbs in my closets - with a few exceptions (bay, sticks of greek oregano,thyme) I mainly use fresh herbs in my cooking.

                2. I'll agree with the pepper mill suggestion, and consider kosher salt and perhaps a container for it.

                  1. http://www.penzeys.com/cgi-bin/penzey...

                    1. Thank you to everyone for your help! This Chowhound website is fantastic. So glad I've found it.