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Apr 12, 2014 01:22 PM

What would you consider are your 6 essential spices?

I had some new friends over the other evening for dinner and they were amazed by my collection of spices. Truth be told, I have gone way overboard but it started a good dinner table discussion about what we would consider our 5 or 6 essential spices.

What do you think? What are your 5 or 6 essential spices? Please keep in mind I am inquiring about spices not salt, for example. I look forward to hearing the replies!

I have edited the question so herbs are not specifically ruled out but what my guests and I were discussing were spices.

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  1. Cumin, white pepper, garlic powder are my favorites. My generic mixes are cajun and garam masalas. I'll vacate the last spot for my favorite pepper of the moment.

    1 Reply
    1. re: carrytheone

      In order (most to least) of amount used:

      Cayenne/chile powder

      Cinnamon deserves an honourable mention.

    2. Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Allspice, Cloves, Chili Powder, Curry Powder; and pretty much in that order.

      Okay, separate list for herbs: Thyme, Rosemary, Basil, Oregano, Tarragon, in no particular order.

      I couldn't possibly winnow these 11 down to six.

      1. So tarragon, sage and dill won't count because they are herbs? If not, I favor chipotle powder, garlic powder (although I usually use fresh), cayenne, white pepper, Rendezvous seasoning from Memphis, and Penzey's sweet and hot curries.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Veggo

          I like fresh garlic and powdered. I'm weird like that.

          1. re: Veggo

            Veggo, I edited the query. It is interesting that you mentioned dill because that can be either a spice (dill seed) or an herb (dill weed).

          2. I'm glad you clarified that "spices" didn't include herbs and salt.


            Cardamom (not essential except for the fact that I love it)
            And one good curry blend

            I was going to say cayenne, except then I realized I could get along without cayenne or red pepper flakes if I had hot sauce.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              I almost put cardamon in my list but as you say, not an essential in my kitchen. Just a lovely spice.

              1. re: carrytheone

                From discussions I've read on this board, it seems that cardamom is one of those flavors you either love or you hate. I wonder if it's genetic, like loving/hating cilantro.

              2. re: Ruth Lafler

                Based on that list my spice drawer must look a lot like yours.

                Just have to add "nutmeg" since I use it often in sauces and such.

                Pepper and paprika: I have more than one variety.

                I like to buy my spices "whole" and grate/grind as needed.

              3. Cumin, cinnamon, ancho chile powder, cardamom seed, smoked paprika, black pepper .