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What would you consider are your 6 essential spices?

Fowler Apr 12, 2014 01:22 PM

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. c
    carrytheone RE: Fowler Apr 12, 2014 01:31 PM

    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
      a
      AlexRast RE: carrytheone Apr 12, 2014 02:44 PM

      In order (most to least) of amount used:

      Cumin
      Paprika
      Cayenne/chile powder
      Allspice
      Cardamom
      Pepper

      Cinnamon deserves an honourable mention.

    2. mcsheridan RE: Fowler Apr 12, 2014 01:33 PM

      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. Veggo RE: Fowler Apr 12, 2014 01:43 PM

        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
          c
          carrytheone RE: Veggo Apr 12, 2014 01:48 PM

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

          1. re: Veggo
            Fowler RE: Veggo Apr 12, 2014 01:56 PM

            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).

            1. re: Fowler
              jrvedivici RE: Fowler Apr 14, 2014 03:03 PM

              Yeah he's a dill weed alright!

          2. Ruth Lafler RE: Fowler Apr 12, 2014 01:53 PM

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

            Hmmm...

            Pepper
            Cinnamon
            Cumin
            Paprika
            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
              c
              carrytheone RE: Ruth Lafler Apr 12, 2014 01:58 PM

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

              1. re: carrytheone
                Ruth Lafler RE: carrytheone Apr 12, 2014 02:01 PM

                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
                p
                pedalfaster RE: Ruth Lafler Apr 12, 2014 02:00 PM

                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. m
                magiesmom RE: Fowler Apr 12, 2014 02:02 PM

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

                1. v
                  Val RE: Fowler Apr 12, 2014 02:04 PM

                  Ground cloves and ground cinnamon definitely #1 & #2 for their awesome antioxidant qualities...turmeric #3, dried leaf oregano #4, cumin & chili powder 5 & 6 for sure!

                  1. meatn3 RE: Fowler Apr 12, 2014 02:46 PM

                    Cumin, coriander seed, nutmeg, pepper (black would be most used - but white & chipotle I use frequently), vanilla bean, mustard seed.

                    Hmm - guess my choice shows I'm more of a pickle maker than a baker!

                    1. tim irvine RE: Fowler Apr 12, 2014 02:50 PM

                      In descending order:
                      Pepper
                      Fennel seed
                      Cumin seed
                      Nutmeg
                      Cinnamon
                      Cardamom

                      Herbs

                      Basil
                      Tarragon or Mexican mint marigold
                      Sage
                      Oregano
                      Thyme
                      Bay leaf

                      1. foodseek RE: Fowler Apr 12, 2014 02:56 PM

                        Tumeric
                        Black pepper
                        Garlic powder
                        Cumin
                        Saffron
                        Curry powder
                        These are must haves. Hard not to list other spices used in recipes including ginger, cardamon, cinnamon,allspice.

                        1. Ttrockwood RE: Fowler Apr 12, 2014 02:57 PM

                          Black tellicherry pepper, the really spicy chinese cinnamon from penzey's, sweet spanish pimenton, and tumeric.
                          I most often use fresh herbs, especially cilantro, and i have more kinds of salt than i do spices in my cabinet.....!

                          1. letsindulge RE: Fowler Apr 12, 2014 03:00 PM

                            Cumin, paprika, chili powder, curry, pepper, garam masala.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: letsindulge
                              lynnlato RE: letsindulge Apr 14, 2014 06:22 PM

                              I love, love, love garam masala. I don't use it often, but I do love it... especially sprinkled on sweet potato pie. Mmm...

                              1. re: lynnlato
                                d
                                debbiel RE: lynnlato Apr 14, 2014 07:42 PM

                                Or sprinkled on popcorn. Mmm...

                                1. re: lynnlato
                                  daislander RE: lynnlato Apr 16, 2014 12:42 PM

                                  or in egg salad!

                              2. a
                                amishangst RE: Fowler Apr 12, 2014 03:22 PM

                                I go through obscene amounts of sweet paprika, dried dill weed, cumin, Aleppo pepper, Vietnamese cinnamon, and whole nutmeg.

                                If I rounded it out to a top 10, I would include ajwain seed, bay leaves, dried thyme, and toasted onion powder.

                                1. h
                                  Harters RE: Fowler Apr 12, 2014 03:58 PM

                                  Pepper
                                  Cumin
                                  Coriander
                                  Nutmeg
                                  Paprika (pimenton)
                                  Turmeric

                                  1. g
                                    gfr1111 RE: Fowler Apr 12, 2014 04:45 PM

                                    I guess that more often than not, I am either cooking something with a Mexican bent or a French bent. So the spices are garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, fresh cilantro, fresh basil, fresh tarragon, and thyme.

                                    Lots of the dishes which I cook are not identifiably from either country, but these are my "go to" spices.

                                    1. tcamp RE: Fowler Apr 12, 2014 05:15 PM

                                      Smoked paprika
                                      Cumin
                                      Curry powder
                                      Turmeric
                                      Pepper
                                      Chili powder

                                      1. elegraph RE: Fowler Apr 12, 2014 05:15 PM

                                        Black pepper
                                        Garlic powder
                                        Cinnamon
                                        Nutmeg
                                        Cumin
                                        Cayenne

                                        1. firecooked RE: Fowler Apr 12, 2014 06:16 PM

                                          Black pepper
                                          Red pepper flakes
                                          Chile powder
                                          Cinnamon
                                          Cumin
                                          Coriander

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: firecooked
                                            pinehurst RE: firecooked Apr 14, 2014 02:49 PM

                                            This^^^ though I think I'd sub out nutmeg for cinnamon.

                                          2. j
                                            jammy RE: Fowler Apr 12, 2014 06:19 PM

                                            Daily: Cinnamon, pepper, ginger, turmeric

                                            There are 2 large drawers of herbs and spices that get used regularly from baking to savoury dishes. Our diet is pretty global, so narrowing it down to 5 or 6 essentials is impossible. Just as an example, last week I used: star anise, fennel, saffron, Italian oregano, Mexican oregano, basil, cayenne, bay, thyme, parsley, tandoori masala (home blended), cumin, kashmiri chilis, espelette pepper, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, nutmeg, rosemary, cilantro, mint, sawtooth herb, coriander, garlic, paprika, cardamom, chipotles, mustard (brown and yellow), vanilla beans...you get the picture.

                                            When I can get snappingly fresh produce, sometimes it's nice to simply taste the fruit/veg on its own, but most of the time we love a little spice.

                                            1. c
                                              carrytheone RE: Fowler Apr 12, 2014 06:23 PM

                                              I am amazed to see all the cinnamon lovers out there. I use quite a bit myself but would have trouble claiming top 6 usage.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: carrytheone
                                                v
                                                Val RE: carrytheone Apr 13, 2014 01:40 PM

                                                Ground cinnamon is so easy to add to my blended up dark berries for breakfast 4-5 times each week...and also to my oats on the "other" breakfast days. Also lovely on a baked sweet potato!

                                                1. re: carrytheone
                                                  s
                                                  Siegal RE: carrytheone Apr 16, 2014 11:20 AM

                                                  unlike a lot of spices cinnamon is great for sweet and savory (so is cardamom, cloves and nutmeg - but cinnamon is more popular) so I can totally see how it dominates everyone's list. I make a lot of Syrian food and boy do they love cinnamon in everything

                                                2. s
                                                  Springhaze2 RE: Fowler Apr 12, 2014 06:25 PM

                                                  Great topic. It's really hard to narrow the list down to top 6. Here is probably what I use the most, in descending order:
                                                  Black pepper (Tellicherry)
                                                  Cinnamon
                                                  Paprika (Hungarian)
                                                  Chipotle chile powder
                                                  Nutmeg (whole)
                                                  Caraway seeds

                                                  1. t
                                                    tastesgoodwhatisit RE: Fowler Apr 12, 2014 08:25 PM

                                                    In order of volume...

                                                    Cumin, freshly ground black pepper, paprika, granulated garlic, red pepper flakes, and cinnamon and cardamon (which get used for both savory and sweet)

                                                    For dried herbs, it would be thyme, bay leaf, rosemary, oregano.

                                                    1. ipsedixit RE: Fowler Apr 12, 2014 08:47 PM

                                                      MSG
                                                      Sumac
                                                      Horseradish Root
                                                      Pepper
                                                      Five Spice

                                                      5 Replies
                                                      1. re: ipsedixit
                                                        Fowler RE: ipsedixit Apr 12, 2014 09:21 PM

                                                        Great list, ipsedixit. I am wondering though why you included MSG. From my understanding, MSG is not a spice or even more broadly an herb. I thought MSG otherwise known as Monosodium Glutamate is a salt of the amino glutamic acid family and definitely not a spice or even a herb.

                                                        1. re: Fowler
                                                          ipsedixit RE: Fowler Apr 12, 2014 09:29 PM

                                                          I use MSG like I would most dried spices.

                                                          That's why I include, and consider, it as a spice.

                                                          In many ways, to me, it's the ultimate spice.

                                                          1. re: ipsedixit
                                                            Fowler RE: ipsedixit Apr 12, 2014 09:36 PM

                                                            No worries. If you consider MSG a spice I have no issue at all. I am sure there are plenty definitions of what is or is not a spice. I was just thinking along the more traditional terms and you referenced something outside of what some consider a spice. Nothing wrong with that and thanks for your list.

                                                        2. re: ipsedixit
                                                          tcamp RE: ipsedixit Apr 14, 2014 12:10 PM

                                                          How do you use horseradish root? I bought one on impulse and it is sitting there waiting to be used.

                                                          1. re: tcamp
                                                            ipsedixit RE: tcamp Apr 14, 2014 06:15 PM

                                                            Peel, shave into thin slices (either by hand/knife or mandolin) and mince.

                                                            In other words, grate it.

                                                        3. d
                                                          d_doubleyew RE: Fowler Apr 12, 2014 09:49 PM

                                                          Sri Lankan "roasted curry powder" (the foundation of which is a 10:5:1 mix of roasted ground coriander seeds, roasted ground cumin seeds and roasted ground fennel seeds)

                                                          Dried chile (cayenne) powder and chile flakes

                                                          Whole cinnamon, cloves and cardamom

                                                          Ground dried turmeric

                                                          Mustard and fenugreek seeds

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: d_doubleyew
                                                            Fowler RE: d_doubleyew Apr 13, 2014 08:22 AM

                                                            Do you make the roasted curry powder yourself or is that something you purchased? I would love to have something like that in my spice collection.

                                                            1. re: Fowler
                                                              d
                                                              d_doubleyew RE: Fowler Apr 16, 2014 10:16 PM

                                                              Yes, I make it myself. Just pan-roast the whole spices separately until dark and fragrant, let cool and then grind separately before mixing together in the proportions listed.

                                                              The prepared curry powder mixes will not only use different proportions but will frequently have other spices like cardamom, cinnamon etc. I prefer to add whole cardamoms and cinnamon when cooking savory dishes.

                                                            2. re: d_doubleyew
                                                              LMAshton RE: d_doubleyew Apr 14, 2014 01:49 AM

                                                              Sri Lankan roasted curry powders don't all have the same ingredients or the same ratio of ingredients. There are huge variations. Unroasted curry powders likewise have significant variations.

                                                            3. i_am_Lois RE: Fowler Apr 12, 2014 11:06 PM

                                                              Powdered mustard
                                                              tarragon
                                                              marjoram
                                                              paprika
                                                              Eryngium foetidum (culantro - I have to grow it in my garden because it's rarely available in the market)

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: i_am_Lois
                                                                firecooked RE: i_am_Lois Apr 14, 2014 01:13 PM

                                                                If I didn't have to count black pepper, mustard would be in my top six too!

                                                              2. h
                                                                hyde RE: Fowler Apr 13, 2014 05:55 AM

                                                                surprised thyme didnt make most lists. consider it key.

                                                                4 Replies
                                                                1. re: hyde
                                                                  h
                                                                  Harters RE: hyde Apr 13, 2014 06:08 AM

                                                                  I decided to limit my post to spices, not herbs.

                                                                  Thyme would always be in my top six herbs. I grow several - as with all of the herbs I have in the garden, they are planted in amongst the specifically decorative plants.

                                                                  1. re: hyde
                                                                    Perilagu Khan RE: hyde Apr 13, 2014 09:51 AM

                                                                    Thyme is my favorite herb/spice, but I can't claim to use it all that often.

                                                                    1. re: hyde
                                                                      meatn3 RE: hyde Apr 13, 2014 01:51 PM

                                                                      Thyme is one of my top herbs! I grow several varieties and use it frequently. I stuck with just listing spices - which was a challenging exercise!

                                                                      For herbs my top 6 would be bay, marjoram, basil, thyme, parsley and cilantro. Oregano is a very close runner up.

                                                                      It was tough to leave fennel off of my spice list.

                                                                      1. re: hyde
                                                                        tcamp RE: hyde Apr 14, 2014 12:11 PM

                                                                        I use it a lot but almost always fresh.

                                                                      2. MidwesternerTT RE: Fowler Apr 13, 2014 06:21 AM

                                                                        Spices:
                                                                        Cinnamon
                                                                        Cumin
                                                                        Chile powder

                                                                        blends:
                                                                        Garam masala
                                                                        Five Spice

                                                                        herbs:
                                                                        Tarragon
                                                                        Dill
                                                                        Oregano

                                                                        Intentionally omitted - black pepper, thyme

                                                                        1. jpr54_1 RE: Fowler Apr 13, 2014 08:35 AM

                                                                          I enjoy using a variety of herbs and spices-
                                                                          pepper-different varieties including long and pink,green,white,black peppercorns

                                                                          paprika-Hungarian and smoked
                                                                          chiles
                                                                          onion
                                                                          garlic
                                                                          pickling spices
                                                                          basil
                                                                          thyme
                                                                          oregano
                                                                          chervil
                                                                          tarragon

                                                                          1. s
                                                                            sedimental RE: Fowler Apr 13, 2014 09:13 AM

                                                                            Like others, it is really hard to just pick a few!

                                                                            I use all the "standard" herbs and spices, but I also consider a few other ones necessary (essential) for the foods I cook daily or weekly:

                                                                            asafetida
                                                                            Shrimp powder
                                                                            Dried chili powder
                                                                            Achiote
                                                                            Coriander
                                                                            Black cardamom

                                                                            These dried items really have no substitute, and leaving them out, would really change the dish significantly.

                                                                            1. Perilagu Khan RE: Fowler Apr 13, 2014 09:48 AM

                                                                              At a guess, and in no particular order:

                                                                              Garlic
                                                                              Cumin
                                                                              Powdered chile (at least a couple dozen different chiles)
                                                                              Italian parsley
                                                                              Oregano
                                                                              Cilantro

                                                                              PS--Didn't include black pepper because I consider it every bit as much a given as salt.

                                                                              1. k
                                                                                kagemusha49 RE: Fowler Apr 13, 2014 02:44 PM

                                                                                Turmeric (you can't say "curry powder" because that's a blend of many spices)
                                                                                Black pepper
                                                                                Chilli powder
                                                                                Garlic
                                                                                Cardamom (just because I love the way it smells and tastes)
                                                                                Cloves (good for toothache in a post-apocalyptic world)
                                                                                On the herb side WHAT ABOUT MINT?

                                                                                1. monavano RE: Fowler Apr 13, 2014 02:48 PM

                                                                                  Aside from salt and pepper-

                                                                                  Cumin
                                                                                  Oregano
                                                                                  Granulated garlic
                                                                                  Onion powder
                                                                                  Paprika
                                                                                  Thyme

                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: monavano
                                                                                    k
                                                                                    kagemusha49 RE: monavano Apr 13, 2014 02:54 PM

                                                                                    Salt doesn't count as a spice as it is inorganic. Noone (including me) so far has mentioned mustard even though it is the second most used spice in the world (after pepper).

                                                                                    1. re: kagemusha49
                                                                                      meatn3 RE: kagemusha49 Apr 13, 2014 02:55 PM

                                                                                      (small cough) I did!

                                                                                      1. re: meatn3
                                                                                        k
                                                                                        kagemusha49 RE: meatn3 Apr 13, 2014 02:56 PM

                                                                                        My bad - I must have switched off before I got to you. You also picked vanilla - which is a good pick

                                                                                        1. re: kagemusha49
                                                                                          meatn3 RE: kagemusha49 Apr 13, 2014 03:00 PM

                                                                                          :-)

                                                                                          No problem...if we retained everything we read on CH there would be no brain space left for anything else!

                                                                                      2. re: kagemusha49
                                                                                        monavano RE: kagemusha49 Apr 13, 2014 02:56 PM

                                                                                        Some did mention mustard powder.

                                                                                    2. ipsedixit RE: Fowler Apr 13, 2014 06:18 PM

                                                                                      I just have a general question for those who have listed "garlic" and "ginger".

                                                                                      Are you referring to the powder form of garlic and ginger, or the fresh iteration of those items?

                                                                                      Because if the latter, the I don't really consider either fresh garlic or ginger as "spices" per se, but more like ingredients.

                                                                                      If the former, then I just don't get using them in powder form. Ever.

                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                        meatn3 RE: ipsedixit Apr 13, 2014 06:23 PM

                                                                                        To a large extent I'm in agreement. But ground ginger is a great ingredient in baking. I have many cake and cookie recipes where fresh ginger would yield a very different result.

                                                                                        1. re: meatn3
                                                                                          LMAshton RE: meatn3 Apr 14, 2014 01:51 AM

                                                                                          As an ingredient in baking is pretty much the only time I use ginger powder. Otherwise, always fresh.

                                                                                        2. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                          Perilagu Khan RE: ipsedixit Apr 14, 2014 08:01 AM

                                                                                          I consider fresh garlic a spice because it I use it to flavor rather than to be eaten for its own sake.

                                                                                          I also use garlic powder without qualm or shame.

                                                                                        3. LMAshton RE: Fowler Apr 14, 2014 01:45 AM

                                                                                          Mine are

                                                                                          chilli powder (as in ground red chilli peppers)(I go through about 250 grams or 1/2 a pound a month)
                                                                                          black pepper
                                                                                          turmeric
                                                                                          cinnamon - and by cinnamon, I mean Cinnamomum verum, not C. cassia, which is sold as cinnamon in most of the world and which I'm allergic to.
                                                                                          cumin
                                                                                          coriander

                                                                                          1. JungMann RE: Fowler Apr 14, 2014 07:16 AM

                                                                                            Considering what I use daily I think I get the most mileage out of:

                                                                                            Cumin
                                                                                            Coriander
                                                                                            Allspice
                                                                                            Aleppo pepper
                                                                                            Cardamom

                                                                                            I do a fair amount of South Asian and Middle Eastern cooking so I have need of several more spices if I want to cook with any breadth, but these five can get me through most of the mainstays of my repertoire.

                                                                                            1. z
                                                                                              zackly RE: Fowler Apr 14, 2014 08:06 AM

                                                                                              In order of use in my kitchen:

                                                                                              black pepper
                                                                                              thyme leaf
                                                                                              oregano
                                                                                              basil
                                                                                              onion powder
                                                                                              Old Bay

                                                                                              1. linguafood RE: Fowler Apr 14, 2014 08:14 AM

                                                                                                Black peppercorns
                                                                                                Cayenne
                                                                                                Hungarian hot paprika
                                                                                                Oregano
                                                                                                Rosemary
                                                                                                Thyme

                                                                                                1. Kajikit RE: Fowler Apr 14, 2014 10:05 AM

                                                                                                  My go-to spices that appear in almost everything are

                                                                                                  black pepper
                                                                                                  ground coriander (I never use the leaves but the powder is essential)
                                                                                                  smoked paprika
                                                                                                  onion powder
                                                                                                  garlic powder
                                                                                                  and ground oregano

                                                                                                  DH doesn't like curry so I use very little cumin/turmeric etc.

                                                                                                  And for baking:
                                                                                                  cinnamon (by the quart)
                                                                                                  nutmeg
                                                                                                  ground cloves
                                                                                                  allspice
                                                                                                  pumpkin pie spice
                                                                                                  ginger

                                                                                                  1. d
                                                                                                    debbiel RE: Fowler Apr 14, 2014 10:34 AM

                                                                                                    This is tough! Probably:
                                                                                                    smoked paprika
                                                                                                    cinnamon
                                                                                                    cumin
                                                                                                    red pepper flakes
                                                                                                    allspice
                                                                                                    a curry blend (yes, I realize this is not a single spice, but it's stored in a single container in my spice cabinet, so I'm including it)

                                                                                                    1. l
                                                                                                      LeoLioness RE: Fowler Apr 14, 2014 12:14 PM

                                                                                                      1. Smoked paprika
                                                                                                      2. Chili powder
                                                                                                      3. Cumin
                                                                                                      4. Nutmeg
                                                                                                      5. Oregano

                                                                                                      1. i
                                                                                                        itsmejessica RE: Fowler Apr 14, 2014 01:40 PM

                                                                                                        1cumin
                                                                                                        2garlic powder I use fresh but always add some of the powdered. Same with onion powder
                                                                                                        3onion powder
                                                                                                        4thyme
                                                                                                        5 oregeno
                                                                                                        6 red chilli flakes
                                                                                                        I know that is 6 but I had to add it.

                                                                                                        1. Scrofula RE: Fowler Apr 14, 2014 02:12 PM

                                                                                                          I am Indian, so cumin, coriander, black pepper and red chile powder are no-brainers. With these, I can make simple chicken curry, chhole, rajma, that sort of thing.

                                                                                                          That leaves me with two slots. I guess I'll go with cardamom for one of them -- I should have at least one of the three essential garam masala spices (the others being cinnamon and cloves). Besides making savory dishes aromatic, I use cardamom in tea and desserts.

                                                                                                          For my last slot, turmeric would be an obvious choice, except that I don't really use it all that much. So I guess I'll go with smoked paprika, because I've been putting that stuff on everything lately.

                                                                                                          1. alliegator RE: Fowler Apr 14, 2014 02:52 PM

                                                                                                            smoked sea salt
                                                                                                            coarse mixed peppercorns
                                                                                                            fine white pepper
                                                                                                            saffron
                                                                                                            five spice
                                                                                                            star anise

                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: alliegator
                                                                                                              Fowler RE: alliegator Apr 14, 2014 07:59 PM

                                                                                                              Great list, alliegator. But no Czech spices for Pap? :-)

                                                                                                              I know you are going through a tough time but I really hope you are making the best of it. You are a good person and I think you will get through it relatively unscathed.

                                                                                                              Saffron would be on my list as well but it is so darn expensive!

                                                                                                              1. re: Fowler
                                                                                                                alliegator RE: Fowler Apr 15, 2014 08:44 AM

                                                                                                                Thank you kindly Fowler. It takes a lot to wipe off my silly grin :D
                                                                                                                The pepper comes into play for Czech food. It's a relatively spice free cuisine, save for some paprika. I've got plenty of that on hand, too!
                                                                                                                Saffron is a must have $plurge for me. I get grumpy without some sunny saffron every so often ;)

                                                                                                            2. team_cake RE: Fowler Apr 14, 2014 09:11 PM

                                                                                                              Black pepper, white pepper, cumin, cinnamon, smoked paprika, fennel seeds (or fennel pollen).

                                                                                                              Runners up would have to include: ground cloves, whole nutmeg, red pepper flakes, saffron, and curry powder.

                                                                                                              1. John E. RE: Fowler Apr 14, 2014 09:44 PM

                                                                                                                Ok, without having looked at the responses so far...

                                                                                                                I'll include chili powder because it's easy

                                                                                                                black pepper (in all its variations) is an easy second,

                                                                                                                cumin could be my third spice (is there a pattern here?)

                                                                                                                1. s
                                                                                                                  sandylc RE: Fowler Apr 14, 2014 09:54 PM

                                                                                                                  I can't get it down to that few. It's just impossible.

                                                                                                                  1. jmckee RE: Fowler Apr 15, 2014 10:11 AM

                                                                                                                    cumin
                                                                                                                    paprika
                                                                                                                    cinnamon
                                                                                                                    dry mustard
                                                                                                                    Pepper (white and black)
                                                                                                                    cayenne

                                                                                                                    1. a
                                                                                                                      Avie17 RE: Fowler Apr 15, 2014 11:11 AM

                                                                                                                      Cumin
                                                                                                                      Coriander
                                                                                                                      Turmeric
                                                                                                                      Fenugreek
                                                                                                                      Cinnamon
                                                                                                                      Pepper

                                                                                                                      1. alliegator RE: Fowler Apr 16, 2014 12:03 PM

                                                                                                                        I see some are including an herb list, so I'll throw mine in. I enjoy growing my own, so much fun!
                                                                                                                        cilantro (and lots of it)
                                                                                                                        standard issue basil
                                                                                                                        holy basil
                                                                                                                        mint
                                                                                                                        flat leaf parsley
                                                                                                                        dill

                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: alliegator
                                                                                                                          Fowler RE: alliegator Apr 16, 2014 12:17 PM

                                                                                                                          Alliegator, You and I live in totally different climates so growing cilantro has never worked out for me. Even on the odd years when it will grow, it bolts within a few weeks and is done/dead for another two years.

                                                                                                                          If you like oregano, I would imagine that would really grow well in your climate.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Fowler
                                                                                                                            alliegator RE: Fowler Apr 16, 2014 12:35 PM

                                                                                                                            I will have to admit, I'm pretty lucky in the growing climate department. When I've been less lucky in that area in the past, the cilantro looks pretty battered in the stores:(
                                                                                                                            I don't have any oregano, but I should give it a go, one of my garden boxes happens to have a vacancy.

                                                                                                                            1. re: alliegator
                                                                                                                              linguafood RE: alliegator Apr 16, 2014 12:37 PM

                                                                                                                              That's funny -- here in HV, oregano grows wild everywhere. We have shit tons in our front lawn, having never planted it.

                                                                                                                              1. re: linguafood
                                                                                                                                alliegator RE: linguafood Apr 16, 2014 12:58 PM

                                                                                                                                No $hit. I had no idea. But, I wasn't a cooking person in those days. I'll have to ask my dad about this. He will utilize anything free in any way possible.

                                                                                                                                1. re: alliegator
                                                                                                                                  Fowler RE: alliegator Apr 16, 2014 01:02 PM

                                                                                                                                  Alliegator, I have no idea where "HV" is, but oregano definitely does not grow wild everywhere else. It should be easy to grow in your climate though if you plant it.

                                                                                                                        2. l
                                                                                                                          laliz RE: Fowler Apr 16, 2014 12:22 PM

                                                                                                                          Black Pepper
                                                                                                                          Cinnamon
                                                                                                                          Granulated Garlic
                                                                                                                          Parsley
                                                                                                                          Red Pepper flakes
                                                                                                                          Celery Seed

                                                                                                                          NEVER list:
                                                                                                                          Old Bay
                                                                                                                          Onion Powder
                                                                                                                          Cilantro
                                                                                                                          Ginger

                                                                                                                          1. k
                                                                                                                            Kontxesi RE: Fowler Apr 17, 2014 08:50 AM

                                                                                                                            Cumin
                                                                                                                            Smoked paprika
                                                                                                                            Ground coriander
                                                                                                                            Chile powder (right now I've got California)
                                                                                                                            Granulated garlic (for rubs, mostly)
                                                                                                                            Garam masala

                                                                                                                            1. s
                                                                                                                              seamunky RE: Fowler Apr 17, 2014 02:18 PM

                                                                                                                              Black Pepper
                                                                                                                              Star Anise
                                                                                                                              Allspice
                                                                                                                              Cumin
                                                                                                                              Lemongrass
                                                                                                                              Cassia

                                                                                                                              1. j
                                                                                                                                JanineL RE: Fowler Apr 25, 2014 02:15 PM

                                                                                                                                Great subject Fowler.

                                                                                                                                - Smoked savina pepper
                                                                                                                                - Cumin
                                                                                                                                - Chipotle pepper powder
                                                                                                                                - Tellicherry black pepper
                                                                                                                                - Saffron
                                                                                                                                - Smoked hot paprika

                                                                                                                                1. MplsM ary RE: Fowler Apr 27, 2014 09:03 AM

                                                                                                                                  Black pepper
                                                                                                                                  Fennel seed
                                                                                                                                  Cumin
                                                                                                                                  Cinnamon
                                                                                                                                  Chile powder

                                                                                                                                  1. Chemicalkinetics RE: Fowler Apr 27, 2014 11:52 AM

                                                                                                                                    Peppercorn,
                                                                                                                                    Ginger,
                                                                                                                                    Garlic,
                                                                                                                                    Dried fish powder
                                                                                                                                    cumin,
                                                                                                                                    star anise,
                                                                                                                                    fennel (more like for snack as candy fennel :P)

                                                                                                                                    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-FkOU9kVXWV0...

                                                                                                                                    5-spices mix -- if we count mixed spice.

                                                                                                                                    1. petek RE: Fowler Apr 27, 2014 12:13 PM

                                                                                                                                      Black peppercorns
                                                                                                                                      paprika
                                                                                                                                      chili flakes
                                                                                                                                      garlic salt
                                                                                                                                      curry powder
                                                                                                                                      chilli powder

                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: petek
                                                                                                                                        Chemicalkinetics RE: petek Apr 27, 2014 12:27 PM

                                                                                                                                        Hmm, I completely forgot about dry chili pepper as spices.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                                                          petek RE: Chemicalkinetics Apr 27, 2014 12:35 PM

                                                                                                                                          D'oh! :)

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