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May 20, 2013 09:38 AM

What Herb/Spice Do You Most Dislike?

I'm pretty much a spiceophile. Rare is the spice I do not love. The strongest exception to this rule, however, is Mexican oregano. First tried it no more than a couple of years ago, and simply have not developed a taste for it. Gotta say I dislike Mexican oregano more than anything else in my spice shelves.

You lot?

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  1. Not a huge fan of fenugreek in any form. I don't hate it, but I don't love it.

    Cilantro, only in small doses for me.

    The rest, bring 'em on.

    10 Replies
    1. re: pinehurst

      Agreed completely on cilantro. I don't hate it the way I used to, but I'm still not mad about it either. Small amounts are enough.

      But fenugreek, I love. Murg methi is one of my very favorite dishes in any cuisine.

      1. re: pinehurst

        I don't hate cilantro, but don't love it. The other day I went to prepare herb shrimp and something seemed off. One taste and I knew I had goofed and bought cilantro instead of parsley, it was not going to be used as a substitute or for anything else.

        1. re: pinehurst

          Don't love fenugreek, either, although it's fine in curry powder. I like cilantro in balance, but everyone in my family thinks it's like nerve gas and one molecule will kill you, so I rarely use it.

          1. re: Isolda

            ...and I, on the other hand, find it strange that most people treat cilantro like an herb, if they use it at all. In the quantities I use it, it's more like a vegetable.

            1. re: MsMaryMc

              MsMaryMc, you might like the recipe I'm doing tonight... 4 CUPS of cilantro (yes, 4... I'm a little worried about that much myself).

                1. re: drongo

         to try me some of that! Thanks!!

                  1. re: drongo

                    Actually it was very good... though I used the mass measurement (120 g) for the cilantro rather than volume (4 cups), and I'd estimate the 120 g was more like 2-3 cups loosely packed.

                  2. re: MsMaryMc

                    I think I could graze my way through a field of it

                2. re: pinehurst

                  Funny timing coming across this topic today. I put a teensy bit of fenugreek (the dried leaves, not the seeds) in some pumpkin soup last night, since I bought it to make a tikka masala spice mix and have heaps left over.

                  I can't get the horrid aftertaste out of my mouth! Not doing that again. I'm hoping it hasn't spoiled my next tikka masala. Blech!

                  If I'd seen this yesterday morning, I would have said that I wasn't averse to any herb or spice.

                3. I'd have to say cinnamon. I like cinnamon, but I feel it is the "fall back" baking spice too often. Same in pickled items. It is often used so heavily that the flavor obliterates all others.

                  I usually cut back or eliminate the cinnamon and increase the mace, allspice, nutmeg, cardamom, etc.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: meatn3

                    It could be that you'd like another flavor of cinnamon too; if you're using supermaket cinnamon, it is probably Chinese cinnamon. Try some Thai or Ceylon or Vietnamese stuff. It's really good and different tasting.

                    1. re: conate

                      Good point about the range of flavors. I have several varieties, most from Penzeys.

                      I guess it's not the flavor per se, it's my perception of such an over reliance and over use of it in recipes. It's as if recipe developers know everyone has cinnamon in their spice cabinet but they are afraid people don't have or won't purchase mace/cardamom, etc. so they just stick with the same old same old.

                    2. re: meatn3

                      What pickled items use cinnamon?

                      1. re: AmyH

                        My mom used to put it in her bread and butter pickles.

                        1. re: Isolda

                          I would have never thought that. I make bread and butter pickles every summer with my cukes but have never seen a recipe calling for cinnamon.

                        2. re: AmyH

                          I recently made pickled green almonds from a recipe which called for stick cinnamon (I omitted it since I am out of stock). My Moroccan preserved lemon recipe uses it along with other aromatics. Many pickled fruits such as figs, pears and apples use cinnamon. I'm sure there are more - these are just the ones I've made over the last few months.

                          1. re: meatn3

                            That does make sense. I wasn't thinking of pickled fruits at all. When I lived in SC I knew someone who made watermelon rind pickles and there may have been cinnamon in them. Tasty!

                        3. re: meatn3

                          I can't think of a single herb or spice I dislike, but I'm really tired of cinnamon. It's not awful, it's ubiquitous, and that got boring over fifty years ago for me. If someone would PLEASE invent a Christmas potpourri or "boil" that does not have any cinnamon at all I'll run out and buy it, even though I loathe those things - I would just want to encourage the effort, is all.

                        4. Tarragon. I've tried it many times. I want to like it but I can't stand it.

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: Bkeats

                            I rarely encounter tarragon. I think it used to be more popular than it is now.

                            My greatest memory of tarragon, however, was my mom's chicken Kiev, which contained tarragon butter. Honestly, it is one of the greatest things I have ever eaten, but damned if I can replicate it. I've tried several times, and failed without fail.

                            1. re: Perilagu Khan

                              I never encounter it anymore. If I see it listed as an ingredient, I avoid it. Shows up a fair amount in french spots. Not so much elsewhere. Bearnaise sauce gives me the willies.

                              1. re: C. Hamster

                                Somewhere Escoffier is spluttering with outrage.

                              2. re: Bkeats

                                I also really dislike tarragon, uniquely among herbs and spices in my experience...

                                1. re: Bkeats

                                  I used to adore tarragon, but grew very tired of it after eating it in a carrot and banana side dish I used to make to accompany broiled fish. It was really great the first 54 times I made it, but now, not so much...

                                  1. re: Bkeats

                                    Nearly 2 years later, just in case you read this...I hate tarragon too but you really must try fresh tarragon in chicken salad (preferably with almonds and grapes). Something about the combination of flavor is far more than the sum of their parts! I learned this from Ina Garten and she's so right - chicken salad without tarragon is far inferior. But I've never had tarragon in any other dish and liked it.

                                  2. Cumin. Terrible metallic taste and smell to me

                                    9 Replies
                                    1. re: CocoaChanel

                                      I probably use almost as much cumin as salt in my cooking. That happens when you cook Indian and Tex-Mex/New Mex/Mexican as much as I do.

                                      1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                        My cooking doppelganger? In our house, we make a TON of Desi and Mexican-ish food (sometimes simultaneously). The size of our jar of cumin is absurd.

                                        1. re: tandooritaco

                                          "My cooking doppelganger?"

                                          Sure sounds like it.

                                          And come to think of it, I've got to make a cumin run tomorrow; we're getting dangerously low. The homestead would grind to a halt without cumin in the kitchen.

                                          1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                            Ha, I understand that. We've got a couple of those essential ingredients. Cumin, garlic, dried chiles, as examples. Upon running out, records scratch, children wail, teeth are gnashed.

                                        2. re: Perilagu Khan

                                          I love cumin as well. My favorite shrimp is paprika-cumin herb shrimp.

                                          1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                            I also use more cumin in volume than anything else but salt and maybe pepper. Buy it in 1lb. bags at the Indian grocer to keep the cost in check.

                                            1. re: Bada Bing

                                              Definitely the way to go.

                                              Relatedly, last weekend I bought a few ounces of bay leaves in the Latin section of the grocery store for under two bucks. McCormick (or was it Spice Isle?) was charging seven dollars for the same thing.

                                            2. re: Perilagu Khan

                                              I adore cumin. Nothing better than carrots roasted with cumin and salt.

                                              1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                Cumin and salt- sounds like Djemma al-Fna in Marrakech

                                              1. re: JKDLady

                                                You know, it's so strong and musty that I like it only sparingly. Very, very easy to use to much.

                                                1. re: JKDLady

                                                  I was going to vote for sage.

                                                  It is SO necessary to me in sausage and stuffing/dressing --> But. Only. A. Little.

                                                  So, I can't do without it, but I don't need [or want] much.

                                                  1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                    I was on the low side of neutral for sage for a long time but poster Angelsmom changed my mind:


                                                  2. re: JKDLady

                                                    I don't mind sage, but a little bit goes a long way.