“Variety is the spice of life.”
I’m sure we’ve all heard this phrase before, but in any homemade dish, it is the seasoning and spice blends used that make all the difference. When planning for an at home gourmet style pantry, it is important to make sure to keep a variety of spices in stock at all times. Depending on what region’s influence you are cooking with, this list may vary. But there are a few spices that are reliably used in kitchens across the globe.
For the sake of this blog, I recommend you at least have all the spices in the basics category. If I throw a curve ball recipe out there, I’ll be sure to warn you ahead of time where to obtain the occasional specialty spice. Most grocery stores (and even some smaller chains) will carry these basic spices.
• Garlic Powder
• Onion Powder
• Dried Oregano
• Dried Thyme
• Dried Basil
• Dried Dill
• Paprika Powder
• Chili Powder
• Red Chili Powder (Cayenne)
• Cumin Powder
• Black Peppercorns (for use in a grinder of course)
• Course Sea Salt (used in a grinder or whole)
• Iodized Granulated Salt (table salt will do)
• Chicken Stock Cubes (ok, not really a spice, but useful to keep on hand)
Garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper are in almost all of dishes I typically make, where as the other spices listed are staples for fish, beef, chicken and vegetables. I suggest getting those four spices in abundance, and the rest in smaller quantities. These four spices are common for both making broth/stock as well as marinating and seasoning.
Oregano goes well with vegetables and Greek style dishes or red sauces. Oregano has a rich savory taste to it.
Dill is used in Greek cooking and makes an exceptional addition to fish recipes and eggs. It almost has a sweet flavor to it.
Cumin, chili powder and cayenne all work well for Indian and South American cuisine alike. These spices taste bold and earthy so a little goes a long way.
Paprika and thyme are great ways to elevate a normal chicken dish (among other things). These spices are more subtle, but add depth. Paprika is often used for coloration too.
The key to a more complex menu lies in spice. So keep your pantry topped off with these spices at all times with these “spices of life.”