America’s Love Affair With Spices

So I was looking at my spice rack lazy susan thing and I asking myself why I still kept it, even though I stopped using it a long time ago.  Of course, the answer is easy, because it was one of the last gifts from my father before he passed away.

However, just because I keep it, doesn’t mean I have to use it, and neither does anyone else!  I frequently see these sorts of contraptions at Target, and yes, I admit it, I feel this desire to have access to so many herbs without thought or planning!  The idea that I could have any herb I need whenever I need it seems amazing.

But lets face reality, this is the lure of the lazy.   We have multiple choices with how we approach cooking or seasoning in general.

  1. We can think about what we want to make for the next week or so, then buy just the amount and types of spices to make that food as delicious as possible.
  2. We can buy large quantities and/or types of spices so that no matter what we randomly decide to cook, we have the spices we need.

Its the American way to want unlimited everything even if we don’t need it.  But lets think about the cost for a moment.  First, its MORE expensive, not less expensive, to buy those mediocre mega-sized quantities of spices.  No no, I don’t want to hear about the sale price or the price per ounce.  For the majority of people, they’re either going to throw away those mega-spices after six months or so, or they’re putting in the spices despite the fact that they have little flavor left.  Second, those spices are often pre-ground, which means they inherently have less flavor than if you were to buy your spices whole.

So the only advantage of buying large quantities is so we don’t have to think.  I really want to help the world to not define itself by how little they had to think when doing something.  That isn’t something to be proud of.  Its smart to figure out ways to not have as much stress when doing something, but not at the expense of quality or money.

 

Now some of you may still be thinking about those little yellow tags telling you how much cheaper something is in the mega size, or you’re thinking even in the smallest size, its enough to last a year or more.  You might want quality and a good deal, but you probably don’t want to throw away large quantities of spices every few months, right?

Well here is a big secret!  Most Indian grocery stores sell herbs without a container!  Yes, you scoop how much you need and pay for just that.  Indians love their spices, and where-as Americans (I’m including myself in this category!) are easily lured by convenience, Indians want their spices fragrant, fresh, and whole!

In my video, I talk about what not to do and what to do regarding herbs.  I also talk about my chile powder recipe, which you can read here.

Save the Flavor, Save the… world?  Maybe? At the very least, Save the Flavor, Save your Meal!

 

Richard Mathis

Author

Richard Mathis

Richard Mathis is a software architect and CTO of CHSI Technologies. When he isn't imagining new ways to help insurance companies run their business, he's writing, gaming, or performing. You can follow his meanderings on twitter.

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