White people, do you season your food with spices?
This tweet cracked me up this morning, especially the replies. I’m white. I grew up in a house without spices. We had salt and pepper and maybe garlic salt. My grandparents rarely cooked, that I can remember. There would be “potato soup” which was cubed potatoes in water with butter, salt, and pepper. “Salmon stew” which was canned salmon in milk and butter with pepper. My step-grandfather made a decent spaghetti sauce. But spices? Not so much. Probably because we didn’t know all the spices that were available and because buying other foods were more of a priority.
I didn’t learn to cook until I was in my late 20s. I didn’t start trying more than the basic spices until kinda recently, partly because they are expensive (or so I thought) but mostly out of ignorance. Since I’ve started learning how to cook more diverse foods, I’ve been slowly adding to my spice collection. Like yesterday I added Tajin to the collection. It’s only slightly out of control now. I’ve filled a double-decker spice rack on the counter and a shelf in the cabinet. I have 3 more shoeboxes full in another cabinet and that doesn’t include the large bags. Like I said, out of control.
But I grind my own pepper. I make my own fajita and taco seasoning. I make a chai spice mix for a tea-less latte (I can’t have tea because of my kidneys). A lot of the meals I cook now call for a bunch of spices. Recipes like that used to scare me off, but now I just start pulling out jars and jars and get to it.
How to afford all the spices
This was tricky for me at first. I would find a recipe I wanted to make, but it had a list of spices, few or none of which I had. I’d go to the store and sticker shock would set in. This is how you end up with a $35 bowl of chili (if you’re a vegan on twitter, you probably know what this refers to). I started buying a spice here and there, more if I could use a coupon of if they were on sale.
Next is finding spices for less. Aldi has spices for 85 cents, according to Instacart. The most expensive ones are just under $3. Indian supermarkets have a whole aisle of spices in baggies at reasonable prices. Target has Good & Gather brand spices starting at around $1.
Making your own mixes
I somehow recently ran out of Italian seasoning. I looked at the ingredients on the package and saw that I actually had oregano, marjoram, garlic, basil, and sage. The marjoram and sage are old, but still usable, so I just made my own mix.
I don’t buy taco seasoning anymore. I don’t know if it’s less expensive to make my own taco seasoning, but I can control the ingredients and it’s one less thing in my pantry, which means I have room for something new.
As if I need to buy more spices, but we all know I will.