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What are the 10 most essential things in your spice cupboard?

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What do you consider the ten most essential things in your spice cupboard (mixes and blends included)? Would you agree with most of the things on this list: http://www.realsimple.com/realsimple/... (under the "Basics Box")?

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  1. Garlic powder, onion powder, cumino, paprika, cinnamon, red pepper (flakes or cayenne or chili powder if necessary), dried oregaano, dried basil, dried tarragon, rubbed sage,

    1. I would certainly disagree that it is 'basic' to have both white and black peppercorns. Salt in your spice cabinet? Takes up too much space, salt finds counter space somewhere.

      1 Reply
      1. re: FrankJBN

        Kosher salt, Cumin, Oregeno, Rosemary, Cayenne, Paprika, Chili, Basil, Peppercorns, Bay Leaves

      2. Not counting salt? (I can't look at the link, Real Simple gives me hives.) Peppercorns, cumin, curry powder, red-pepper flakes, chili powder, smoked salt (does that count?), dried dill, caraway seeds, za'atar (the latter 2 not so much essential as beloved).

        That's only 9, so count cumin twice. My favorite.

        1. kosher salt, my rub, cumin, my garam masala. ancho chile powder, aleppo pepper flakes, pequin chile powder, freeze dried shallots, peppercorns.

          1. Salt, pepper, cinnamon, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder are all I use on a regular basis. I did just buy some Old Bay Seasoning to make crab cakes :)

            Sorry, I'm really boring :p

            1. Thanks for all of your replies thus far. I'm beginning to think that it's a very individual thing.

              My list: coriander, cumin, Hungarian paprika, Spanish smoked paprika, chili flakes, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, allspice, black pepper. And then there's my beloved Maldon sea salt -- but I suppose its inclusion is debatable.

              I've never used garlic powder. Do you use it in place of fresh garlic?

              This whole question stems from a gift that I'm putting together for a relative. I think I'll stick with spices for the gift, since herbs can be purchased fresh, but please keep the replies coming.

              39 Replies
              1. re: littlegreenpea

                It's totally individual. Depends a lot on what cooking the person tends to do. If I had to pick my 10, it would be:

                black peppercorns, white peppercorns (for Asian cooking), cumin seed, coriander, black mustard seeds, bay leaf, sea salt (if that's not included), cinnamon, smoked Spanish paprika, whole dried chiles.

                I agree with sticking to the spices. I'm generally not a fan of dried herbs unless it's something like oregano. Maybe a nice gift would be some spices and a spice grinder. Then you don't have to buy cumin seeds and ground cumin.

                1. re: Miss Needle

                  Id post my 10, but I think Miss Needle has my list already. well done.

                  cumin and coriander would be the top 2 for me.

                  1. re: yankeefan

                    She has me pretty well covered also, though I'd substitute Hungarian paprika for the Spanish smoked. I might toss in some whole nutmeg as well.

                    Great gift idea.

                2. re: littlegreenpea

                  I mostly use garlic powder on toasted bread or rolls to go with Italian dishes. You can also use it as a substitute for fresh garlic.

                  1. re: littlegreenpea

                    Garlic powder is good for dry rubs and for sprinkling on top of foods that you want a garlic note on (e.g. pizza). It's also very basic and cheap...not necessarily something I would give as a gift.

                    My basic 10 are: black peppercorns, bay leaves, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, allspice, sea salt, cumin, paprika, saffron, seasoned salt, but most of these items are very inexpensive and not necessarily something I would give as part of a gift basket. As you said, basic spices are a very individual thing. My dry spices tend to be used for Middle Eastern, American, Mediterranean and Latin cooking, so that's reflective in the spices I use most often. Find out what your recipient likes to eat to find out their basics. Find out what they want to eat to find out what makes a gift.

                    1. re: JungMann

                      Ugh! Garlic powder is horrible, bitter, acrid. I don't understand why anyone would use it (or onion powder for that matter) for anything! I'm actually surprised it's still even sold!

                      1. re: roxlet

                        quality garlic powder, and quality onion powder are a necessary ingredient in most cooks bbq dry rubs.

                        1. re: roxlet

                          Good garlic powder can be a nice find- easy addition to add some late flavor to foods.

                          1. re: roxlet

                            I always thought garlic powder was completely nasty and couldn't understand why anyone used it for anything. Then a chef friend explained to me that it needed to be quality garlic powder, and most importantly, needed enough time and liquid to rehydrate. So, sprinking garlic powder on something right before it's served = nasty. Sprinkling some high-quality garlic powder (now I only use it from worldspice.com, very good stuff) in a soup while it simmers or on a steak a half hour before cooking can be very very good indeed.

                            Great suggestions for spices here, by the way. My top choices would be cumin, paprika (both Hungarian & smoked), cayenne, and nutmeg.

                            1. re: dagwood

                              First off, it is completely possible to make a BBQ rub without garlic powder, my husband does it all the time. Also, I am ready to bet real money that most of the posters who use garlic powder get the commercial stuff from the supermarket not the "high quality garlic powder" from World Spice.

                              1. re: roxlet

                                you would lose that "real money" bet if was regarding what spices I use, heck, I wont even buy meat at a supermarket, let alone spices.

                                Also I said most cooks dry rubs, sure it can be done without, & some of the rubs I make do not contain it. It all depends on the flavor you are trying to accomplish.

                                1. re: swsidejim

                                  I would assume at least some, if not most, of those posting on a chowhound thread regarding spices care enough about them to seek out quality ingredients.

                                  1. re: dagwood

                                    I agree.

                              2. re: dagwood

                                Are you really sure you want to bet on this matter with fellow Chowhounds?

                                1. re: dagwood

                                  Garlic powder. I stop using it for a few years because I thought it was an inferior ingredient. I have no idea why I came to that conclusion but I was wrong. For me it is completely different than fresh, and it has its own use. Soups and stews. I use it along with fresh. Rubs, and sometimes in foods I use it as if it were a flavor enhancer. For me it works, and I think I'm a much better cook for using it. imho.

                                2. re: roxlet

                                  I have run into the bitter effect from garlic powder but it is rare. I do use the stuff, especially on meats for the grill. At my local purveyor that carries bulk spices there are two kinds of dry garlic. One is called powder, the other granulated garlic, which is twice as expensive. Never had the bitter effect with it.

                                  1. re: roxlet

                                    You probably haven't had Penzey's. The garlic powder is so far beyond any other. It isn't a substitute for fresh garlic, but it is good enough to start making me lazy. The smell is intoxicating.

                                    1. re: Bobfrmia

                                      No kidding. Penzey's spices are my go to for almost any spice. In fact the girls on my street always combine our orders. I love their granulated garlic and all of their other spices. They are also not that much more than other spices, cost wise. Great spice, great company.

                                      1. re: kprange

                                        Earlier today I was fantasizing about taking a drive over to the Penzey's in Dallas tomorrow. That place is like Disneyland for a spice foodie. I never knew there were so many varieties of cinnamon! It is really fun exploring all the different spices all at their best.

                                        Getting back to the OP's question, probably cumin, bay leaves, black peppercorns, white ground pepper, saffron, whole nutmeg, dried oregano, cayenne, sea salt & crushed hot peppers.

                                        Only use garlic or onion powder as part of a dry rub, I prefer to use fresh garlic in everything else. I wish Trader Joe's still carried the jars of crushed garlic, it had such a great flavor and was so convenient.

                                        1. re: Barbara76137

                                          I only use granulated garlic from Penzy's. I also use fresh garlic quite often. I usually use granulated garlic on meats in conjunction with another seasoning. I also use it for my garlic cheese biscuits. Yum!!!

                                    2. re: roxlet

                                      Garlic Powder: Try this tonight for supper! Put your chicken pieces in your roasting pan Sprinkle them with Lawry's (http://www.lawrys.com/Products/Spice-...), garlic powder, pepper and paprika. Then post your response!

                                      1. re: roxlet

                                        I love 'em both

                                        1. re: roxlet

                                          Garlic powder can be vile, but granulated garlic is worlds apart from the powdered version, even better if it's a good brand or quality.

                                          1. re: lilgi

                                            Too true. I'm not a huge fan of garlic powder, but love granulated garlic. Good stuff. Think I had it on my list :-)

                                        2. re: JungMann

                                          I agree that garlic powder is useful, but disagree on it being something to leave out. Trader Joe's has a California garlic powder that is heads and tails above anything else.

                                        3. re: littlegreenpea

                                          greenie, just exactly like my list except for Maine & Baltic sea salts and my main man corriander seed.

                                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                                            I was wondering when coriander would get on the list!

                                            1. re: firecooked

                                              I have really started to use coriander. I think I would put that on my list.

                                          2. re: littlegreenpea

                                            I'm assuming the relative in question is not an experienced cook because they would already be buried in herbs. Consider adding some Better that Bouillon chicken stock. Easy to use and keep and a good starter step to better flavor in cooking.

                                            1. re: EdwardAdams

                                              Excellent suggestion! I love Better than Bouillon. Easy to work with, too, because of its thick, but liquid, consistency. The chicken flavor is great with so many things!

                                              1. re: EdwardAdams

                                                That's a good thought. The reason they're not buried in spices/herbs, however, is because they're moving. I'm thinking more of a "get-the-spice-cupboard-going" type of gift. Sometimes it's expense/necessity can be overlooked given all of the other things that moving/starting out requires.

                                              2. re: littlegreenpea

                                                If you're getting a gift of spices/herbs, check out www.penzeys.com; they do a beautiful job with gift baskets. It's always my choice for bridal showers or new home showers, etc. They have one with a spice grinder. I'm lucky enough to live 10 miles from a Penzey's store and I go there every couple months!

                                                1. re: Suzieg

                                                  Thanks. I love their packaging. Unfortunately I live in Canada. The last time I checked, it cost a tonne to ship their gift boxes here. I'm going with this place in Toronto, which is more local for me: http://www.thespicetrader.ca/ -- and they're all organic too!

                                                  1. re: littlegreenpea

                                                    I'm in Canada too but the prices there look steep (so far) compared to what I pay to buy spices south of the border - about double the price.

                                                    1. re: littlegreenpea

                                                      Penzey's is opening up a storefront location in Buffalo, NY's Elmwood Village market - just a quick drive from Toronto. Check them out this spring! We can't wait here in Buffalo for them to open up.

                                                      1. re: rwalley211

                                                        A belated thanks for the tip! I also do mail order with Penzy's and Spice House == you can order to your house in Buffalo but I get it sent to someone an hur from me in Michigan.

                                                  2. re: littlegreenpea

                                                    When you say coriander, is this the same as coriander seed. I would assume that you would need a spice grinder b/c the seeds seem inedible????/

                                                    1. re: hpman247

                                                      coriander seed is ground, typically. it is used whole in applications like pickling and brining (e.g., corned beef).

                                                    2. re: littlegreenpea

                                                      You can, but I often use garlic salt in addition to garlic. My mother used it instead of, but I think it adds depth of flavor.

                                                    3. Salt, Black Pepper, Allspice, Cumin, Red Pepper Flakes, a West Indian Spice blend, Cumin Seeds, Sumac, Bay Leaf

                                                      1. Kosher salt, black and white pepper, marjoram, oregano, basil, rosemary, Hungarian sweet paprika, cayenne, thyme, bay leaves, caraway seeds. I also have a tone of spices I bring from trips to other countries, but they change.

                                                        1. I need more than 10:

                                                          Kosher salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, cumin, cayenne pepper, chili powder, oregano, thyme, rosemary, dry yellow mustard, bay leaves, Old Bay, sage, allspice, cinnamon,

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: swsidejim

                                                            wondering if anyone else thinks Old Bay is much the same the flavor of seasoned salt, like Lawry's? I have an off brand that I picked up somewhere = Crab Bath, the container is even similar, I don't use it though.

                                                          2. Nice gift. As you can see, everyone has their own personal tastes. I'd go with five essetials and five splurges or unusual spices or blends.

                                                            First of all ... serioulsy ... skip onion or garlic powder ... ick ... there are a few recipes they might be used, but ... seriously .. ick.

                                                            Essentials (not including regular salt because who doesn't have it)
                                                            Cinnamon
                                                            Whole black pepper
                                                            Bay Leaves
                                                            Oregano
                                                            Thyme

                                                            Five optional
                                                            Ground Chipotle chile
                                                            Cardamom
                                                            Smoked sea salt
                                                            Saffron
                                                            Whole peppercorn mix ... green, pink, white, black

                                                            9 Replies
                                                            1. re: rworange

                                                              Do I only get 10? Whole black Tellecherry Extra-bold pepper (we order a lb. at a time), ground ancho chile powder, cumin, oregano, thyme, basil, bay leaves, whole nutmeg, coriander, cardamom, wasabi powder, sage, red pepper flakes, and I could list 10 more that I use often.

                                                              I must disagree with the poster that doesn't recommend dried herbs. When you live in the boonies like we do, they are all that are available. The only way I can get fresh basil, etc. is to grow it myself.

                                                              1. re: rworange

                                                                Good thought to do half essentials and half splurges/blends. I'm definitely leaning that way.

                                                                1. re: littlegreenpea

                                                                  I once did a gift for my sister that was all specialty salts, after she told me she'd never had fleur de sel. I would definitely include some plain fleur de sel over smoked salt ...

                                                                  1. re: foiegras

                                                                    I must agree. I would have an entire shelf full of specialty salts.

                                                                2. re: rworange

                                                                  I've never heard of Smoked sea salt! I haven't read all of the posts in detail but just in case no one else mentioned it: the difference between Mexican oregano and the other (Mediterranean?) is huge and I much prefer the Mexican. I typically only use my "icky" onion and garlic powder for cajun recipes.
                                                                  Finally, although I've always been far too stingy to throw out spices when years beyond their prime, the freshness factor can be huge in certain dishes.

                                                                  1. re: colby olds

                                                                    Although I've been reading about smoked salt for a while, I only tried it recently. There's a bunch of ideas in these threads.
                                                                    http://www.chow.com/search?search%5Bq...

                                                                    I like adding them to a pot of Mexican beans when they are finished cooking. It adds a lovely flavory to it. Actually, part of my recent interest in different beans is I had a bunch of different chili powders that I've had for a while ... when I developed an interest in chili powder. The slighlty aging chili powder is magically delicious when mixed with beans and the slight over-the-hill taste is gone. I've also been throwing in other spices I've long abandoned with the beans. I hate throwing stuff out.

                                                                    Smoked salt is also lovely on baked potatoes or buttered corn ... or instead of regular salt with buttered French radishes.

                                                                    1. re: colby olds

                                                                      I also prefer Mexican oregano. Oregano is the ONLY herb that I actually prefer dried to fresh. I grow fresh oregano all the time, but very rarely use it. Now my basil, sage, rosemary and thyme I use constantly and won't tolerate dried.

                                                                      1. re: Barbara76137

                                                                        That is commonly the case for oregano.

                                                                        Thyme and bay are things that are useful to have in both dried and fresh forms. They give off somewhat different flavor profiles in each mode. Some estimable chefs, for example the late and great Edna Lewis (bow of head; Julia Child, in all her glory, serves at Edna Lewis' table, and happily, I am sure) was very specific about using dried instead of fresh thyme in many things.

                                                                      2. re: colby olds

                                                                        yep, and I've had them since my marriage which is forever ago

                                                                    2. Pepper. Salt, Garlic Powder, Seasoning Salt, Old Bay Seasoning, Onion Powder, Oregano, Basil, Creole Seasoning, Cinnamon

                                                                      1. Peppercorns (white and black), cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, chile powder (15 different kinds), and the following seeds: sesame, celery, dill, coriander, and mustard.

                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                          Tsk, tsk,tsk, Mr. Sam, do you mean chile from 15 different places ie Hatch, Chimayo, Douglas, etc. or fifteen different blends like curries?

                                                                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                            Are you inferring that Sam is inferring that anytime you say "chili powder" you are inferring that it is a blend? I think this is what I'm suggesting...

                                                                            Pass: Heaven forbid we can't call it our chili powder "Hatch chile powder"!
                                                                            Heaven forbid that it isn't infested and infected with some cumin.
                                                                            I've only got five :(

                                                                            1. re: Scargod

                                                                              I've only got 1 blend, for special degraded uses. As w/ garlic I tend, to use the whole item. I've read about your super organization of spices. I keep one rotating bin of most used spices in the cupboard near my work are & stove. The rest is a jumble in 2 lazy Susans in the cupboard across the kitchen. I'm on the radio at 11.
                                                                              Enjoy the weekend. The black flies in the garden are terrible.

                                                                            2. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                              Straight chile powders from Ethiopia, India, and one of the big Indian grocery stores in Nairobi. Use them with tumeric, cumin, cinnamon, and ground ginger (also from India) to make different curry powder blends.

                                                                              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                And then there's the chile powder used by Koreans to make kimchi. The same but different as a good friend of mine would say.

                                                                          2. I've got 5: salt, peppercorns, cumin, bay leaf, dried chiles.

                                                                            all else is purchased fresh (basil, mint, cilantro), urban foraged (sage, rosemary, thyme), or grown (poorly).

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: assorted

                                                                              On a whim, I got a pepperoncini plant this year, vaguely planning to pickle them, green. Now my first pepper has turned a healthy red, and I'm wondering how it's used that makes it so special that you add it to your essentials list.

                                                                            2. I buy almost all of my herbs fresh, as I really don't care for dried basil, oregano, sage, etc.. I also keep both Sicilian sea salt and kosher salt out on my counter at all times, so I am not counting these. Here is my list of the ten most essential spices for my theoretical cabinet:
                                                                              Cinnamon
                                                                              Black Peppercorns
                                                                              Saffron (preferably Abruzzese)
                                                                              Cumin
                                                                              Whole Nutmeg
                                                                              Dried Italian Red Pepperoncini (I like to crush them in my hand when the time comes)
                                                                              Cayenne Powder
                                                                              Coleman's Dry Mustard
                                                                              Spanish Paprika
                                                                              Bay Leaf (my one dried herb)

                                                                              Runners up:
                                                                              Clove
                                                                              Garam Masala
                                                                              Garlic Powder (for rubs)
                                                                              Pink Peppercorn
                                                                              Coriander Seed
                                                                              Fennel Seed
                                                                              Allspice

                                                                              (Actually that's about everything I've got, anyway. I'm not very good at paring down!)

                                                                              1. It would depend - cause I do different kinds of cooking-
                                                                                Mexican - cumin, dried chillies, red pepper
                                                                                Cajun - cayenne pepper, paprika, black pepper, parsley
                                                                                Greek - Oregano, cinnamon, garlic powder
                                                                                Those would be my main, but I also have tarragon, basil, paprika, coriander, curry, anise seed, turmeric
                                                                                because I cook French, Italian and Indian often. 10 isn't enough for me.

                                                                                1. Herbs (.oreganos, marjoram, thymes, tarragon, parsley, fennel, chives, sages, shallots, etc.) are in the garden; garlic is in the basket by the stove; dried chilies (from bland to very hot) in jars in the dark under the counter; different salts are in jars and grinder on counter.. so my 10 most-used spices in the spice cupboard are: black peppercorns, cumin (seed & ground), coriander (seed & ground), gr. ginger, cayenne, mustard (seed & ground), caraway seed, celery seed, cinnamon, turmeric

                                                                                  1. whole peppercorns, cumin, thyme, multiple chili peppers/ground seeds, Penzeys baking spice, oregano, coriander, Chinese 5 spice, nutmeg, powdered onion/garlic blend.

                                                                                    1. Kosher salt
                                                                                      Whole black peppercorns
                                                                                      Dried Italian oregano
                                                                                      Ground cumin
                                                                                      Dried common thyme
                                                                                      Cinnamon bark
                                                                                      Whole nutmeg
                                                                                      Whole dried red chilies
                                                                                      Rosemary
                                                                                      Lalah's brand curry powder

                                                                                      1. Tellecherry Peppercorns
                                                                                        Kosher & Sea Salt
                                                                                        Dried Italian Red Pepperoncini
                                                                                        Cayenne Powder
                                                                                        Aleppo Pepper Powder
                                                                                        Spanish Smoked Paprika
                                                                                        Hungarian Sweet Paprika
                                                                                        Cumin
                                                                                        Garlic Powder as an ingredient for various blends
                                                                                        Onion Powder ditto
                                                                                        Coleman's Dry Mustard

                                                                                        That's my basic list, however there are 2 shelves with many more. Didn't list herbs because they're in the pantry in 1/2 gallon air tight jars, having been grown in my garden and dried...and they Are basic. Thyme, Oregano, Basil, Sage, Marjoram, Tarregon, Rosemary. Bay leaves and chili powders are in the fridge..

                                                                                        1. Cumin, granulated garlic, oregano, thyme, basil, black peppercorns, adobo (Mex.), ras al hanout, chili powder, cinnamon. But there are several other spices I use almost as regularly (cardamom, turmeric, crushed chiles, smoked paprika, lemon pepper and sesame seeds all spring to mind).

                                                                                          1. I wouldn't agree with the "chill" on that basic box list. Who ever uses that? I stopped a long time ago. Now I use "heat"!

                                                                                            In order of what I use most:
                                                                                            black pepper, sea salt (in grinder), toasted, granulated garlic powder (The Spice House), smoked paprika (McCormick), toasted cumin (powder), thyme, sage, oregano, ground cayenne, red chili flakes, rosemary, chili powder, curry powder, bay leaf, coriander, nutmeg, Fines herbs, summer savory...
                                                                                            Konriko "All-Purpose Greek Seasoning" This is my go-to seasoning for grilled or roasted chicken. About every other chicken gets seasoned with this alone or as a foundation for additional seasonings. How can you stop at ten?
                                                                                            I, like others, have an herb garden and it is so "way better" fresh.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: Scargod

                                                                                              It depends on what kind of 'chili' you got. I always use extra hot chili powder. It's something I tend to put in a lot of foods that don't necessarily even call for heat. I use this in addition to either dried or fresh chiles. I also use sriracha sauce like there's no tomorrow, but I was only focusing on dried spices here.

                                                                                            2. I disagree that supermarket dried spices are beneath us (as chowhounds). McCormick's small glass bottles have some very high quality items which I've had to buy at the last minute on occasion. But they are much too expensive when compared to the bulk prices from Penzey's or The Spice House.

                                                                                              I have both whole seed and ground versions of some spices - do they count as one? These include cumin, coriander, mustard seed, black and white pepper. These are pan fried and hand ground on my large mortar and pestle when I'm cooking. But when I need them in a dry rub, I use the powdered form - with the exception of the coriander, mustard seed and black peppercorns, which I put in my coarse-set grinder when mixing up the rub for my pastrami. For the dry rubs I do also have granulated (NOT powdered) garlic, onion, and ginger.)

                                                                                              I also use the following on a day to day basis: Sweet, hot and smoked paprika; italian and mexican oregano, thyme, rosemary, cinnamon, nutmeg (whole), red pepper flakes, Penzey's black & red, and of course MSG.

                                                                                              17 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: applehome

                                                                                                I agree on McCormick's in the glass bottle- some of it has been good, and saved me when I'd run out of things I couldn't replace at the last minute.

                                                                                                1. re: vvvindaloo

                                                                                                  Second--or third?--vote for the upscale end of McCormick's spice line. The cost per ounce is unwelcome, but for quality those are on a par with any packaged spices you'll find in speciality stores.

                                                                                                2. re: applehome

                                                                                                  What do you regularly use nutmeg for? I don't do hardly any pies or desserts )and that is usually my reason for it) so am I an underachiever with it?

                                                                                                  1. re: Scargod

                                                                                                    Nutmeg is a commonly used spice in pasta and noodle dishes in Europe, and it is used the same in the middle-east and some of the central American cuisines.

                                                                                                    1. re: Scargod

                                                                                                      I can't have french toast or crepes without both cinnamon and nutmeg - my wife doesn't like it so much, so I cook hers first and then take out the microplane and do a couple of swipes - doesn't take much, you just want the tiniest hint on the back of your tongue. I just got sent a gift set of rubs and spices from Penzey's, and they threw in a whole bunch of cinnamon sticks, nutmegs, and bay leaves in the box. I won't have to buy nutmeg for years!

                                                                                                      1. re: applehome

                                                                                                        I am a cinnamon addict, and I also love freshly grated nutmeg. Just a touch in coffee, cocoa, or in any kind of dish that I want to add a little 'warmth' to, especially in soups, stews and in Indian cooking (usually paired with cardamom as well).

                                                                                                        1. re: FoodieKat

                                                                                                          I usually keep the powdered Vietnamese cinnamon (Cassia) around, but ran out the other day. So I took some of the free Indonesian cinnamon sticks they had sent me and ground them up in my grinder, and added sugar to make cinnamon sugar. We periodically deep fry some cut up flour tortillas and sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar - and the ground-up sticks worked really, really well this way. (Being diabetic, I can only eat one or two small pieces at a time, but my family loves them. There has been some recent research on the benefial effects of cinnamon to lowering blood sugar... but flour tortillas and sugar can't help!) Maybe I'll just keep doing this (grinding the bark). It has to increase our fiber intake!

                                                                                                          1. re: applehome

                                                                                                            Whenever I make basmati rice I break a cinnamon stick into the water (I use true cinnamon here, not cassia); it adds a very lovely, subtle flavor.

                                                                                                            1. re: applehome

                                                                                                              Those sound yummy. When I was a kid, my mom used to cut Pilsbury biscuit dough into crescent moon shapes, fry them in oil, then roll them in cinnamon suger. Poor man's donuts. So bad, so good! We always used cinnamon sugar in our buñuelos (Mexican pancakes), and my grandma always used cinnamon sticks (canela) in her coffee and in her oatmeal. I also read that cinnamon has been shown in studies to be a natural anti-inflammatory, and possibly even help lower LDL cholesterol. Of course, the added sugar and fat kind of negates some of the benefits, but hey, it's a treat.

                                                                                                        2. re: Scargod

                                                                                                          Oh my goodness...I use nutmeg at least a few times a week, and not just for sweet stuff. spinach, cream sauces, cheese sauces, a little grating adds so much dimension.

                                                                                                          1. re: Scargod

                                                                                                            I sneak fresh nutmeg into all kinds of things, including spinach, oatmeal, etc.

                                                                                                            1. re: Scargod

                                                                                                              Nutmeg is one of those "secret ingredients" a lot of people can't put their finger on. Not to reiterate what has been already written, but I won't make French toast or my homemade mac-n-cheese without it. And it MUST be freshly grated from the nut (on a microplane grater). Toss that pre-ground stuff in the trash right now! I came to really appreciate fresh ground nutmeng on a trip to the British Virgin Islands.

                                                                                                              1. re: DigitalVelvet

                                                                                                                A little bit is delicious grated onto either carrots or parsnips with S&P and a touch of butter.

                                                                                                                1. re: Normandie

                                                                                                                  Never thought about it with carrots or parsnips. Could you use it with sweet potatoes?

                                                                                                            2. re: applehome

                                                                                                              of course MSG? really or is that a joke?

                                                                                                              1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                MSG is THE source for adding umami. Living without umami is like living without one of the other base flavors - sweet, salty, bitter, sour. It's been long since proven that the negative MSG effects (headaches) are bogus - psychosomatic at best. Umami occurs naturally in all kinds of food that have glutamate content - using Ajinomoto or other pure MSG to add it is just a part of good cooking. If you eat my food, you had better be prepared for some umami (where it makes sense) and if you get "MSG headaches" you're forewarned. And hey - I use peanut oil too! (Although that's a real allergy for those that have it, not psychosomatic.)

                                                                                                                1. re: applehome

                                                                                                                  AH, one of my wife's relatives, a chemist, converted the Japanese version for American use.
                                                                                                                  A belated happy birthday!

                                                                                                            3. Other than Kosher salt and whole pepper corns:
                                                                                                              Ground Cumin.{I toast and grind my own in small batches}
                                                                                                              Szechuan Pepper corns.{Smuggled in from Hong Kong}
                                                                                                              Five Spice.
                                                                                                              Allspice.{A must for Jerk}
                                                                                                              Star Anise.
                                                                                                              Mustard powder.
                                                                                                              Lemon Pepper.
                                                                                                              Hungarian Sweet and Hot Paprika.
                                                                                                              Garlic Powder.
                                                                                                              Garam Masala.
                                                                                                              Herbs Du Provence.{Nothing is better on Grilled Lamb or Chicken}
                                                                                                              Dried Oregano.
                                                                                                              Pepper flakes.
                                                                                                              Chili Powder.{ Get mine from San Antonio}
                                                                                                              I can keep going on with the list, but the OP only asked for 10. Which is hard.

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: currymouth

                                                                                                                Isn't it nice that we're not limited to 10 in real life? It was pretty difficult for me to come up with my 10 as well.

                                                                                                              2. French Sea Salt
                                                                                                                Cinnamon both Ceylon and Vietnamese
                                                                                                                Black Peppercorns (I like Malabar)
                                                                                                                Smoked Paprika
                                                                                                                Chile Powder, about 5 different kinds
                                                                                                                Allspice
                                                                                                                Penzey's Cake Spice blend
                                                                                                                Cumin seeds
                                                                                                                Coriander Seeds
                                                                                                                Green Cardamom

                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: Snackish

                                                                                                                  No fair, that link lists 15! I think a big variable is whether you bake (sweet stuff). I hardly ever do. My vote, in no particular order:

                                                                                                                  cumin seed, black mustard seed, coriander seed, kosher salt, cinnamon stick, whole nutmeg, garam masala, whole dried chiles (ordinary Chinese or Indian grocery sort), star anise, tarragon.

                                                                                                                  Of course I have *way* more than that, but those probably get the heaviest use. Think about what sort of food you friend likes.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Aromatherapy

                                                                                                                    Yup, asking for the essential 10 is part of the challenge! It's tough!!

                                                                                                                    1. re: littlegreenpea

                                                                                                                      You got that right I cut my list down to 10 and it was tough. Here's what I posted in a no-holds-barred thread

                                                                                                                      "Going by what I presently have to hand.

                                                                                                                      Cooking oils/fats:
                                                                                                                      Olive oil, peanut oil, grapeseed oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil, butter, duck fat, bacon drippings, canola oil

                                                                                                                      Condiments:
                                                                                                                      Yellow, brown and Dijon mustards, horseradish, mayonnaise, tahini, sour cream, soy sauce, wasabi, ketchup, hoisin, fish sauce, anchovies, sriracha, chili/garlic sauce, Trinidadian green sauce, Guyanese hot sauce, cider red wine and balsamic vinegars, piri-piri sauce, pickles, Parmesan Reggiano, a good pecorino cheese, HP sauce, Mexican hot sauce, mango achar, various chutneys, liquid honey, kimchi ...

                                                                                                                      Herbs and spices
                                                                                                                      Kosher and sea salts, black and green peppercorns, marjoram, oregano, basil, fennel seed, dried mint, fenugreek, black and yellow mustard seeds, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, green cardamom pods, saffron, whole nutmeg, whole allspice, whole cloves, Persian yogurt seasoning, Lalah's brand Madras curry powder, Lester's Montreal steak spice, turmeric, coriander seed, real vanilla extract, dried parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, Keen's dry mustard powder, garlic powder, onion powder, Hungarian paprika, cayenne, dried chives, cumin, celery seed, dried tarragon, white sesame seed, dried red chiles; fresh garlic, ginger, bird's-eye chilies and jlapenos; Old Bay seasoning, liquid smoke, 5 spice powder ...

                                                                                                                      Baking:
                                                                                                                      Whole wheat, unbleached white, gram and tipo 00 flours; corn meal, dry active yeast, baking soda, baking powder, corn starch, bread crumbs, Dutch cocoa ...

                                                                                                                      Grains and products:
                                                                                                                      Various Italian pastas, various Asian noodles, brown rice, basmati rice, arborio rice, kamut, bulgur, kasha, quinoa, pot barley, rolled oats, couscous ...

                                                                                                                      Dried legumes:
                                                                                                                      Split green and yellow peas (for soup), various lentils (for dhals and wats), navy beans for baked beans), chickpeas (for falafel) ... I find canned versions of other beans suitable for general use

                                                                                                                      Miscellaneous:
                                                                                                                      Creamed coconut, dried kelp, nori, bonito flakes, dried shiitake mushrooms ...":

                                                                                                                      Is that more than 10? Is that cheating?

                                                                                                                2. Whole black peppercorns
                                                                                                                  cardamom
                                                                                                                  cinnamon
                                                                                                                  cumin
                                                                                                                  smoked paprika
                                                                                                                  bay leaves
                                                                                                                  thyme
                                                                                                                  cloves
                                                                                                                  lovely flake salt
                                                                                                                  ginger (this has hardly been mentioned! how else do you do cookies and winter squash with dried ginger, fresh ginger and crystallized ginger?!?!)

                                                                                                                  1. Ginger
                                                                                                                    Nutmeg or mace
                                                                                                                    Korinthe (sp?) cinnamon
                                                                                                                    Kosher Salt
                                                                                                                    Garlic Powder
                                                                                                                    Onion Powder
                                                                                                                    Cumin
                                                                                                                    Chili Powder
                                                                                                                    Thyme
                                                                                                                    Oregano

                                                                                                                    I also keep lots of other spices on hand like Tarragon, basil (much prefer fresh), parsley (again prefer fresh), bay leaves (fresh again), garlic salt, onion salt, cloves,..that's not all of them. Oh, and sesame seeds! That is absolute necessity. And some sweet paprika.

                                                                                                                    1. Interesting thread! For me, it's: (in alphabetical order)

                                                                                                                      Basil
                                                                                                                      Cinnamon (both sticks and ground)
                                                                                                                      Cloves (full and ground)
                                                                                                                      Cumin
                                                                                                                      Garlic powder
                                                                                                                      Mint
                                                                                                                      Oregano
                                                                                                                      Rosemary
                                                                                                                      Sage
                                                                                                                      Tarragon

                                                                                                                      I consider salt and pepper such staples I wouldn't include them, although I have both regular and sea salt, and ground and whole peppercorns.

                                                                                                                      Things I do keep around but don't use as often as those above (my 2nd ten!):

                                                                                                                      Allspice
                                                                                                                      Bay leaves
                                                                                                                      Cayenne (nowadays, I usually add heat with hot sauce)
                                                                                                                      Chili powder
                                                                                                                      Curry powder
                                                                                                                      Coriander (seed and ground, and I buy fresh leaves for some dishes)
                                                                                                                      Five spice powder
                                                                                                                      Nutmeg
                                                                                                                      Paprika
                                                                                                                      Thyme

                                                                                                                      1. what about five spice! im surprised no one mentioned it yet. I use a dash in so many dishes...most of the time it's not the star spice, but i even even add it to my chili and bolognese and everyone asks about the undefinable flavor.

                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: seedove17

                                                                                                                          It was mentioned earlier.

                                                                                                                          1. re: seedove17

                                                                                                                            I mentioned five spice in my secondary 'essential list' of spices. I use it pretty regularly, especially in my stir frys and fried rice recipes, but it also makes an interesting twist to traditional scrambled eggs and omelettes.

                                                                                                                          2. Bay Leaf
                                                                                                                            Cayenne
                                                                                                                            Cinnamon
                                                                                                                            Coriander Seed
                                                                                                                            Cumin
                                                                                                                            Garlic Powder
                                                                                                                            Garam Masala
                                                                                                                            Onion Powder
                                                                                                                            Peppercorns
                                                                                                                            Sea Salt

                                                                                                                            1. Garlic Powder
                                                                                                                              Cumin
                                                                                                                              Curry Powder
                                                                                                                              Garam Masala
                                                                                                                              Chili Powder
                                                                                                                              Red Pepper Flakes
                                                                                                                              Cinnamon
                                                                                                                              Saffron
                                                                                                                              Lemon Pepper
                                                                                                                              Old Bay

                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                              1. re: jcattles

                                                                                                                                Salt
                                                                                                                                Black Pepper
                                                                                                                                Garlic Powder
                                                                                                                                Onion Powder
                                                                                                                                Lemon Pepper
                                                                                                                                Red Pepper Flakes
                                                                                                                                Parsley Flakes
                                                                                                                                Paprika
                                                                                                                                Chili Powder
                                                                                                                                Seasoning Salt

                                                                                                                              2. Does anyone use mace anymore? I remember my Grandmother using it frequently, and my mother always had some on hand, but I don't think I've ever used it.

                                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: Catskillgirl

                                                                                                                                  I use mace in baking, usually toss just a little in banana bread batter, sometimes add a bit to crumble toppings.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Catskillgirl

                                                                                                                                    I bought it recently, because it looked cool and I'd always wanted to try it, but I have no idea what to use it in.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Catskillgirl

                                                                                                                                      It's good in rice pilafs, a delicate substitute for nutmeg. I also like it in spicy lamb curries.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Catskillgirl

                                                                                                                                        I don't know what it's for. I think it's the outside of nutmeg, so if it is, shouldn't it taste like nutmeg then? or I'm all wrong which is probable. Either way, I don't have it.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                          I use mace blades - just toss it into whatever you are simmering (i.e. tagine) or grind it fresh. It has a warm earthy aroma and is just lovely. I use it more in savoury preparations than sweet.

                                                                                                                                      2. Pretty much the same as everyone else. I also have Italian Herbs, even though I have the separate spices, Herbs d' Provence, and I love poultry seasoning on my roti chicken. I use a lot of my own fresh thyme and rosemary. I love and use my little fresh nutmeg grater. Nutmeg on hot chocolate and sauteed carrots is especially good.

                                                                                                                                        I buy almost all of my spices at Rainbow or Whole Foods from the bins. Much much cheaper and probably a couple of years fresher. Also I can buy small amounts of spices that I don't use that often.

                                                                                                                                        Whole Foods used to have bulk mulling spices, which I use in my applesauce. I haven't been able to find it in anywhere, except in very expensive cans from places like Williams Sonoma. Does anyone in San Francisco know where I can buy small amounts from bulk bins? (small amounts in bulk sounded weird)

                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: Canthespam

                                                                                                                                          Have you tried Oliver's in Sonoma County? They aren't cheap, but cheaper than Whole Foods.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Canthespam

                                                                                                                                            Whole Foods have bins of spices that you can scoop? Hum, really? Never knew that.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                              It depends on the Whole Foods on whether they have bin spices. The older stores are more likely to have them. It seems in the newer stores they aren't so into the bins unless it is as super store ... and even then the selection isn't as good. Some just have those dispenser thingies instead of scoops.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: Canthespam

                                                                                                                                              try Whole Spice in Napa at the Oxbow Market.

                                                                                                                                            3. Mixed Peppercorns
                                                                                                                                              Montreal Steak Seasoning
                                                                                                                                              Chili Powder
                                                                                                                                              Cumin
                                                                                                                                              Thyme
                                                                                                                                              Rosemary
                                                                                                                                              Basil
                                                                                                                                              Granulated Garlic
                                                                                                                                              Paprika
                                                                                                                                              Crushed Red Pepper

                                                                                                                                              AND OF COURSE 200 MORE !!

                                                                                                                                              1. It'd be so wrong to cut it down to just 10 spices. I've got a zillion in my spice drawer and my "essential" list can't be cut down beyond 15:

                                                                                                                                                Achiote verde paste
                                                                                                                                                Beef seasoning mixture (this is a higher-end store brand thing our local store started carrying recently--they have mixtures for pork, chicken, and fish, too, but the beef one is truly exceptional)
                                                                                                                                                Black peppercorns
                                                                                                                                                Cayenne
                                                                                                                                                Cinnamon
                                                                                                                                                Cumin
                                                                                                                                                Curry powder (a good one, not that tasteless insipid crap that passes for curry powder in a lot of grocery store spice selections)
                                                                                                                                                Dill weed
                                                                                                                                                Dry mustard
                                                                                                                                                Garlic powder
                                                                                                                                                Hungarian paprika
                                                                                                                                                Italian herb mixture (Dell’Alpe brand is what I've been getting here lately)
                                                                                                                                                Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
                                                                                                                                                Parsley flakes
                                                                                                                                                Red pepper flakes (for pizza, for soups and stuff, and for hot chili oil)
                                                                                                                                                Sage

                                                                                                                                                1. Here's one that no one mentioned (I think) that I discovered recently ... powdered bay leaves. I found them in a Mexican market. I love this stuff ... bay leaf flavor without having to fish bay leaves out of the pot.

                                                                                                                                                  When I asked about it a while back, someone said if too much bay leaf powder is used, the dish might become bitter. So far I haven't had that problem, but I'm careful with it.

                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: rworange

                                                                                                                                                    A pinch goes a long way indeed. BTW, powdered bay leaf is a component of Old Bay Seasoning: and some other blends as I'm sure chowhounders will point out.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: rworange

                                                                                                                                                      How interesting! I haven't seen that yet.....I'm wondering if you could make it by throwing bay leaves in a spice grinder....having used the stuff yourself, what do you think?

                                                                                                                                                    2. Aside from oregano and bay (if you don't have a potted laurel), no herbs are "essential" in a spice cabinet for me, because fresh is better.

                                                                                                                                                      Salt would not count because it's not organic - that is, it's rock.

                                                                                                                                                      So, the eight essential spices left would be:

                                                                                                                                                      -Whole black peppercorn
                                                                                                                                                      -Whole nutmegs
                                                                                                                                                      -Ground Ceylon genuine cinnamon
                                                                                                                                                      -Celery seeds
                                                                                                                                                      -Caraway seeds
                                                                                                                                                      -Ground cayenne pepper
                                                                                                                                                      -Colman's ground English mustard
                                                                                                                                                      -Old Bay seasoning

                                                                                                                                                      Allspice, cloves, cardamom, coriander and dill seed are the next 5 runners up. But I don't use them as much.

                                                                                                                                                      1. Pretty darn close:
                                                                                                                                                        kosher salt, mixed peppercorns, cayenne, cinnamon, smoked paprika (sweet), chili powder, bay leaves, rosemary, oregano, basil

                                                                                                                                                        1. Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, oregano, paprika, cajun seasoning, and my favorite - CUMIN

                                                                                                                                                          1. Sticking with my top ten, not counting salt:

                                                                                                                                                            bay leaf
                                                                                                                                                            whole black peppercorns
                                                                                                                                                            ground cumin
                                                                                                                                                            smoked paprika
                                                                                                                                                            my spice rub
                                                                                                                                                            my poultry seasoning blend
                                                                                                                                                            fennel seeds
                                                                                                                                                            sesame seeds
                                                                                                                                                            chili/red pepper flakes
                                                                                                                                                            rosemary

                                                                                                                                                            1. Not counting garlic powder, pepper and salt, which reside above the stove rather than in the spice drawer, the ten spices I'd buy first if starting over would be:

                                                                                                                                                              Bay leaf
                                                                                                                                                              Cardamom, ground
                                                                                                                                                              Cinnamon, ground
                                                                                                                                                              Cloves, ground
                                                                                                                                                              Coriander, ground
                                                                                                                                                              Cumin, ground
                                                                                                                                                              Ginger, ground
                                                                                                                                                              Nutmeg, ground
                                                                                                                                                              Rosemary, cracked
                                                                                                                                                              Thyme, whole

                                                                                                                                                              Of course there are many other spices, herbs, and blends I'd want to have, but these would let me make my most-loved dishes. My favorite spice source is Savory Spice Shop in Denver. I order through their website since I'm out of town. Buying spices in little plastic bags saves postage and lets you re-use old Spice Islands jars. You can request labels.

                                                                                                                                                              1. Not in any particular order:

                                                                                                                                                                garlic powder
                                                                                                                                                                ground ginger
                                                                                                                                                                dried basil
                                                                                                                                                                dried oregano
                                                                                                                                                                paprika (imported)
                                                                                                                                                                dried dehydrated chopped onion
                                                                                                                                                                salt
                                                                                                                                                                peppercorns (for grinding)
                                                                                                                                                                cinnamon
                                                                                                                                                                cumin

                                                                                                                                                                1. Wow, only 10, huh? Okay, other than Kosher Salt and Tellicherry Peppercorns, which are standard, even in my folks house:

                                                                                                                                                                  Allispice
                                                                                                                                                                  Cumin
                                                                                                                                                                  Coriander
                                                                                                                                                                  Cardamom
                                                                                                                                                                  Nutmeg
                                                                                                                                                                  Chipotle Flake
                                                                                                                                                                  Saffron
                                                                                                                                                                  Smoked Salt
                                                                                                                                                                  Bay Leaf
                                                                                                                                                                  Dried Chiles (various)

                                                                                                                                                                  I am also partial to some dried spice blends like Adobo from my local market and Florida Seasoned Pepper from Penzeys.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. Hmm, hard to pick. Lemme try:

                                                                                                                                                                    - cumin (whole seeds, kept in a grinder)
                                                                                                                                                                    - pepper corns
                                                                                                                                                                    - cinnamon
                                                                                                                                                                    - curry powder (two different pre-mixes: one, madras from the Indian grocery, the other, a homeblend I buy at the farmer's market)
                                                                                                                                                                    - crushed red pepper
                                                                                                                                                                    - bay leaves
                                                                                                                                                                    - black mustard seeds
                                                                                                                                                                    - coriander
                                                                                                                                                                    - dill seed
                                                                                                                                                                    - cardamon

                                                                                                                                                                    This makes me realize how much more often I reach for flavorings besides herbs and spices: soy sauce, liquid smoke, molasses, sesame oil, chili oil, sriracha, vinegars, wine, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. 1. Coriander seed (and powder)
                                                                                                                                                                      2. Cumin seed (and powder)
                                                                                                                                                                      3. Mustard seed
                                                                                                                                                                      4. Whole dried chilies (a huge variety: Mexican, Thai, Indian, Texan)
                                                                                                                                                                      5. Spanish smoked paprika
                                                                                                                                                                      6. Fenugreek seed
                                                                                                                                                                      7. Dried fenugreek leaves
                                                                                                                                                                      8. Bay leaves
                                                                                                                                                                      9, Cinnamon
                                                                                                                                                                      10. Cardamom

                                                                                                                                                                      1. I suppose "essential" and "favorite" aren't necessarily synonymous, so it was easy to prune saffron and allspice. I'm still a bit undecided, but I'm not counting salt and pepper because they live in a bowl and mill, respectively, and bay leaves, which seem to be popular in these lists, because I really prefer them fresh.

                                                                                                                                                                        1 Paprika
                                                                                                                                                                        2 Dried thyme
                                                                                                                                                                        3 Five spice
                                                                                                                                                                        4 Garam masala (though it's weird without turmeric in this list :\)
                                                                                                                                                                        5 Chili flakes or cayenne
                                                                                                                                                                        6 Nutmeg
                                                                                                                                                                        7 Cumin
                                                                                                                                                                        8 Fennel seed
                                                                                                                                                                        9 Cinnamon
                                                                                                                                                                        10 Oregano

                                                                                                                                                                        Coriander seed didn't make the cut, unfortunately.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. Like most of you it is impossible to narrow it down to ten but I will try! I also prefer to use fresh herbs (grow my own when I can) so will list spices with a couple of exceptions. I also like to dry roast and grind whole spices myself rather than buy powder. I am not including salt and pepper (that is an entirely different story - I have so many...):

                                                                                                                                                                          whole allspice berries
                                                                                                                                                                          thyme leaves
                                                                                                                                                                          red pepper flakes
                                                                                                                                                                          whole coriander
                                                                                                                                                                          cumin seeds
                                                                                                                                                                          smoked paprika
                                                                                                                                                                          bay leaves
                                                                                                                                                                          ceylon cinnamon (not ground)
                                                                                                                                                                          whole nutmeg
                                                                                                                                                                          Szechaun peppercorns
                                                                                                                                                                          sumac
                                                                                                                                                                          rubbed sage

                                                                                                                                                                          Sorry - technically 12. I have 86 spices in my cupboard at present so the more I type the more I think of. I also make my own garlic powder, rosemary orange salt, lime salt, etc. as well as blends (i.e. Herbes de Provence, Garam Masala, Z'atar, Berbere) and rubs.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. White and black peppercorns, cumin, cayenne, paprika, Old Bay, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, Colman's mustard.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. Black Peppercorns
                                                                                                                                                                              Cumin
                                                                                                                                                                              Cinnamon
                                                                                                                                                                              Coriander
                                                                                                                                                                              Red Pepper
                                                                                                                                                                              Dill
                                                                                                                                                                              Cumin Seed
                                                                                                                                                                              Celery Salt
                                                                                                                                                                              Bay Leaves
                                                                                                                                                                              Red Curry Powder

                                                                                                                                                                              1. (1) Salt Pork (2) Black Pepper (3) Ground Cinnamon (4) Thyme Leaves (5) Ground Ginger (6) Garlic Salt (7) Sage (8) Paprika (9) Oregano (10) Hickory Smoke

                                                                                                                                                                                1. little green p,
                                                                                                                                                                                  I love these challenges!
                                                                                                                                                                                  Garlic powder
                                                                                                                                                                                  better than boullion - chicken and beef
                                                                                                                                                                                  cumin
                                                                                                                                                                                  herbs de provence
                                                                                                                                                                                  hot curry powder
                                                                                                                                                                                  garam masala -my own blend
                                                                                                                                                                                  chili powder - several kinds and then the red chili flakes
                                                                                                                                                                                  Hungarian paprika
                                                                                                                                                                                  Mexican oregano
                                                                                                                                                                                  mojo spice blend

                                                                                                                                                                                  Phew! That was hard, I take it cracked peppers and sea salt are just allowed and not considered... Cause if I were told to pack my bag and I'm only allowed ten, well then...I'd be making quite a few of my own spice blends with sea salt and cracked black pepper first into the bottle.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                                                                                                    i have been using coarse sea salt exclusively for a few yrs now...it does get ground...it stays on my counter with a pepper mill...
                                                                                                                                                                                    as far as garlic powder tasting acrid and bitter...try granulated garlic instead...
                                                                                                                                                                                    i donno if i can limit my actual cooking to just 10 spices
                                                                                                                                                                                    1:granulated garlic
                                                                                                                                                                                    2:crushed chilis
                                                                                                                                                                                    3:bay leaves
                                                                                                                                                                                    4:cayenne
                                                                                                                                                                                    5:sage
                                                                                                                                                                                    6: oregano
                                                                                                                                                                                    7: italian herb seasoning
                                                                                                                                                                                    8: cumin
                                                                                                                                                                                    9: chili powder
                                                                                                                                                                                    10: gonna hafta say the dreaded MSG word...

                                                                                                                                                                                    my cupboard has probably 50 or so different kinds of seasonings...the dry stuff is in sealed 500 ml mason jars...labelled...
                                                                                                                                                                                    durn...i forgot to add my baking spices to the list...
                                                                                                                                                                                    cinnamon,nutmeg, cloves, mace, ginger, all spice...theres more but i'd hafta go look

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: fireeater50

                                                                                                                                                                                      Cumin, coriander, cardamom, cayenne, star anise, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg (whole), saffron, black peppercorns, Hungarian paprika, garam masala, cloves, allspice berries, annatto seed, fenugreek, Chinese 5-spice powder, oregano, marjoram, mint, chili powder, ancho chile, Madras curry powder, smoked sweet paprika, smoked hot paprika, assorted dried whole chiles, Sichuan peppercorns, white peppercorns, an assortment of spice rubs/blends.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. 1. Bay Leaf
                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Cumin (whole)
                                                                                                                                                                                    3. Coriander (whole)
                                                                                                                                                                                    4. Cinnamon
                                                                                                                                                                                    5. Nutmeg
                                                                                                                                                                                    6. Cayenne
                                                                                                                                                                                    7. Red Pepper Flakes
                                                                                                                                                                                    8. Epazote
                                                                                                                                                                                    9. Oregano
                                                                                                                                                                                    10. Fennel Seed

                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: corneygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                      I only need two things:

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Tony's - http://www.tonychachere.com/
                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Gumbo filé

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: CajunJacques

                                                                                                                                                                                        wow, you're easy :)

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Not necessarily in this order:
                                                                                                                                                                                      cumin
                                                                                                                                                                                      thyme
                                                                                                                                                                                      ground ancho chile pepper from New Mexico
                                                                                                                                                                                      cayenne
                                                                                                                                                                                      red pepper flakes
                                                                                                                                                                                      oregano
                                                                                                                                                                                      cinnamon
                                                                                                                                                                                      ground cardamom (try it on top of a latte or cappucino instead of cinnamon - OMG!!)
                                                                                                                                                                                      sweet paprika
                                                                                                                                                                                      turmeric

                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: capicksnw

                                                                                                                                                                                        cheaper to just pull a shot of a good kenyan. that's more grapefruity... but if you like cardamom, it's a must try!

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. 1. everglades seasoning
                                                                                                                                                                                        2. salt
                                                                                                                                                                                        3. pepper
                                                                                                                                                                                        4. cumin seed
                                                                                                                                                                                        5. dried bell pepper blend
                                                                                                                                                                                        6. mrs. dash italian seasoning
                                                                                                                                                                                        7. mrs. dash
                                                                                                                                                                                        8. cayenne
                                                                                                                                                                                        9. paprika
                                                                                                                                                                                        10. garlic powder

                                                                                                                                                                                        if salt and pepper are excludable, i'll add szechuan peppercorns and oregano (or thyme?).

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. This isn't really an answer to the "10 spice" question, as asked, but the more the idea of what to give someone as a "spicy" gift. What might be cool is a spice grinder (i.e., coffee grinder reserved for spices)... and a collection of whole spices. I have used the Krups coffee grinder for a spice grinder for years... works great! Spices can include peppercorns (obvious one), cumin seed, coriander seed, fennel seed, mustard seed, cinnamon stick, granulated dried garlic, coarse sea salt, red pepper flake, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Cumin, coriander and fennel are great toasted in a dry pan and cooled before grinding, to enhance the flavors, but don't toast peppercorns before grinding.

                                                                                                                                                                                          A tip I picked up (Cook's Illustrated?) for cleaning the spice grinder: Grind some uncooked white rice. All the savory spice residue is picked up and dumped out with the resulting rice flour.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. In addition to salt (sea) and peppercorns (Telicherry), these ten:

                                                                                                                                                                                            Cayenne
                                                                                                                                                                                            Cumin
                                                                                                                                                                                            Dried Thyme
                                                                                                                                                                                            Dried Oregano
                                                                                                                                                                                            Cinnamon
                                                                                                                                                                                            Ginger
                                                                                                                                                                                            Bay Leaves
                                                                                                                                                                                            Pimenton (hot)
                                                                                                                                                                                            Turmeric
                                                                                                                                                                                            Nutmeg (whole)

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Sea salt and pepper aside:

                                                                                                                                                                                              Garlic powder
                                                                                                                                                                                              Dried minced garlic
                                                                                                                                                                                              Toasted onion powder
                                                                                                                                                                                              Oregano
                                                                                                                                                                                              Cumin
                                                                                                                                                                                              Cayenne pepper
                                                                                                                                                                                              Cinnamon
                                                                                                                                                                                              Rosemary
                                                                                                                                                                                              Dried basil
                                                                                                                                                                                              Chili powder

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Not counting all the salts and peppercorns my list would be:

                                                                                                                                                                                                Bay Leaves
                                                                                                                                                                                                Caraway Seed (secret ingredient, very surprised so few have said it)
                                                                                                                                                                                                Ceylon Cinnamon
                                                                                                                                                                                                Chiquilin Smoked Paprika
                                                                                                                                                                                                Cumin
                                                                                                                                                                                                Ginger
                                                                                                                                                                                                Madras Curry Powder
                                                                                                                                                                                                Mustard Seed
                                                                                                                                                                                                Rosemary
                                                                                                                                                                                                Whole Nutmeg (2nd secret ingredient, but many people have said it.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                NOTE: I have a hydroponic garden that grows fresh herbs and only use fresh onions and garlic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: RetiredChef

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Fresh onions year round would be wonderful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Not including salt or peppercorns:

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ground cumin
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Cinnamon (ceylon)
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Nutmeg
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Cardamom
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Dried thyme
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Dried turkish oregano
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Dried marjoram
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Dried basil
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Aleppo pepper
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Smoked Spanish paprika

                                                                                                                                                                                                  If I could add five more, they'd be:
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ground chipotle
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ground ancho
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Mexican oregano
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Cinnamon (cassia)
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Bay leaf

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Cinnamon (whole and ground)
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Cloves
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ginger
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Nutmeg
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Cardamom
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Peppercorns
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Bay leaves
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Coriander
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Oregano
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Rosemary

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Thyme
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Bay
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Cinnamon
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ancho
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Smoked Paprika
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Nutmeg
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Coriander
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Cumin
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Red pepper flakes
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Whole black peppercorns

                                                                                                                                                                                                      These are my most frequently used, I have many more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Black peppercorns
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Paprika
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Onion powder
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Garlic powder
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Cumin powder
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Dried Oregano
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sage powder
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Red pepper flakes
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Whole fennel seed
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Bay leaves

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Savory:

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thyme
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ginger (for both--I always include it when making homemade salad dressing)
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Cayenne
                                                                                                                                                                                                          White peppercorns
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Italian blend (oregano, marjoram, savory, thyme, basil, rosemary, sage)
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Chili powder
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Garlic salt
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Coriander (essential for shrimp)
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Cumin
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Bay leaves
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Fleur de sel

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sweet:

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Cinnamon
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Cloves (both)
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Allspice

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Baba Malaysian curry powder, peppercorn, dried red chilis, sichuan peppercorn, cumin, coriander, fennel, cardamom, Bangkok blend from Penzeys.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. love flaked real sea salt on all grilled meats fish

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Oregano, Rosemary, Basil, Coriander, Cumin, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Whole Peppercorns, Paprika, Bay Leaves.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Have to include tarragon, chives, dill, lovage, salad burnet, lemon thyme, lavender, thyme, sage, in addition to basil, cilantro, bay, rosemary, cinnamon basil, mint, mexican oregano, all the spices (not just herbs).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Something herbal on everything is my motto!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: herb princess

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And that's why you are the herb princess!;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. At least six different flavors of beer. No kidding.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Like what flavors? I want to know...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Stout & porter for stewing beef and blended in my burgers, brown and fruit ales for doughs, lagers for brats and krau and meat tenderiser, Scottish Ale for steaming shrimp or clams, Carlsburg Elephant for Danish fondue, and any Lite beer that some fool leaves at my house as slug bait, spot remover and jewerly cleaner.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Any good beer helps get the creative juices going, especially BBQing, when I'm not "wining", that is.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Keg Epicure

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          up a excellent selection, and the uses for Lite beer are totally appropriate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Got any different flavors available, now that you'vre relocated?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yes, a green chile wine!? Undrinkable but a damn good marinade.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. sea salt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      black peppercorns
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      dried oregano
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      dried thyme
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      red pepper flakes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      yellow curry powder
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Spanish smoked paprika
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      garlic powder
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      cumin
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My mother's seasoning salt blend

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: DoobieWah

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Oregano, sage, whole black pepper, cinnamon, dried basil, paprika and rosemary. As far as the as the very popular garlic powder I really use it when I don't have some fresh one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Black, white and pink peppercorns
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Red pepper flakes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Vietnamese cinnamon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        paprika
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        cinnamon sticks
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Vanilla beans and quality vanilla extract
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        quality lemon oil
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        garlic granules (it's a little different than powder)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        dried basil (dried by me)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        dried thyme (dried by me)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        seasoned salt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Marjoram, rosemary, sage, oregano, tarragon, thyme, black pepper, red pepper flakes, Old Bay seasoning, cinnamon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. sea salts
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            whole black pepper
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            whole white pepper
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            whole dried chilis
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ground red chili pepper
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ground turmeric
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            cumin seeds
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            cinnamon sticks
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            whole nutmeg
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            black mustard seeds

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. black pepper (whole)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              cumin
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              ginger
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              szechuan peppercorns
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              hot hot pepper (whole)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              celery seed
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              bouquet garni
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              my chili powder
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              cinnamon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              cardamom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              mmm... simplicity is good!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Listing alphabetically, not in order of use/need (and not including salt/pepper):

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Basil
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Celery Seed
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Dill Weed
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Garlic Powder
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Mexican Oregano
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Mustard Powder
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Onion Powder
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Paprika
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Rubbed Sage
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thyme
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Low Sodium Spike

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                OK, technically that's 11. I also keep a blend called "Worth A Shake/Instead of Salt." It's from a recipe I clipped out over 30 years ago. It has several seasonings including mustard powder, paprika, and onion powder, which I don't use otherwise.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: rednails

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  picture is very nice !

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Check out a picture of mine:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  http://jayspun.blogspot.com/2010/12/1...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  kosher salt, pepper, red chili pepper flakes, sweet paprika, saffron, sea salt, garam masala, nutmeg, truffle salt, vanilla bean

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Ground coriander
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Cumin
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Dried curry leaves
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Green cardamom pods
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Smoked hot paprika
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    About 8 different kinds of dried chillies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Toasted nori flakes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Dried oregano (Greek and Mexican - does that count as 2?)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Cinnamon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Truffle salt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Fun topic, I wonder how I missed this the first when it first posted. Oh well, ni modo... on to my Top 10 spices (other than salt and it's iterations)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Granulated garlic
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. A blend of black, white, pink and green peppercorns that I buy in bulk at my local grocery store
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. Paprika
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      4. Mexican oregano
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      5. Cinnamon, regluar and Mexican canela
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      6. Cloves
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      7. Dry Mustard
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      8. Ginger
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      9. Basil
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      10. Dill Weed

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. For me, I like chilli and pepper powder. These are the 2 important ingredients for me in each meal. I also like curry so much that almost eat some at least once in every week.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Should I include all 3 salts? I use them all: (I didn't see the article.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Kosher salt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Fine Sea Salt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Coarse Sea Salt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Black Peppercorns
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Granulated Garlic
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Oregano
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Cardamom
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Cinnamon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Rosemary
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Paprika

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          and if I have to add 3 more (to replace salt):
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          cloves
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          thyme
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          coriander

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. 10 essentials:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1.Kosher salt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Black peppercorns in mill
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. Red pepper flakes (and whole red chiles)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            4. self ground ancho chile powder
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            5. self made bbq rub
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            6. oregano
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            7. granulated garlic
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            8. bay leaves (both whole leaves and gound )
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            9. dried basil
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            10. cinnamon ( stick and ground)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Prolly another 75 more in there too and cumin as a 10.5 at a minimum... . :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            jjjrfoodie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Aleppo chili, Urfa chili, Marash chili, cumin, corriander, basil, oregano, fresh European bay leaves, saffron, Saigon cinnamon and black peppercorns.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. This must be a rhetorical question... how could anyone live with only 10 spices?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: TheSpiceGeek

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Impossible! I have over 80 spices and 20 finishing salts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Hey, LittleGreenPea. I totally agree with you about your beloved Maldon sea salt! I have a box in my cupboard, along with favorites rosemary, tarragon, cumin, marjoram, red pepper flakes, cayenne, cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric and basil, which is so unlike fresh that's it's a different herb completely, but I keep it as generic dried herb. I like to keep some of my spices in whole form, like coriander, and grind it up with a mortar & pestle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, thyme, oregano, basil, bay leaves, smoked paprika, lemon pepper, and cinnamon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. sea salt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      pepper
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      mediterranean oregano
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      cumin
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      hot pepper flakes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      chili powder
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Bay leaves
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Basil
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      cinnamon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Sea Salt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Black Pepper
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        White Pepper
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Red pepper flakes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Cayenne pepper
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Bay leaves
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Dried thyme
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Dried oregano
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Fennel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Cinnamon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Cumin
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Turmeric

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        All the obvious omissions - garlic, rosemary, basil, dill, etc, I tend to use fresh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Kosher and Sea Salt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Whole Black Peppercorns
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Granulated Garlic
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Paprika
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thyme
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Oregano
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Cumin
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Cinnamon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Coriander
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Cayenne