Your top 5 spices not including salt and pepper

The friendliest place on the web for anyone that enjoys cooking.
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.

georgevan

Senior Cook
Joined
Nov 9, 2020
Messages
239
Location
Appleton
the reason I am asking is because I am way over spiced. I must have 75 spices and I rarely use most of them. Having that many spices complicates cooking. Give any suggestions or information.
 

Marlingardener

Senior Cook
Joined
Apr 24, 2022
Messages
273
Location
unincorporated area
Ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ground cloves. Sorry I couldn't come up with five. I use spices mostly in baking, and herbs in savory dishes and breads.

Lord help me, I didn't know there were 75 kinds of spices!
 

Andy M.

Certified Pretend Chef
Joined
Sep 1, 2004
Messages
49,838
Location
Massachusetts
I don't think using our top fives to determine your spice cabinet is a great idea. Your cooking habits should determine what you keep. Keep what you use a lot and toss the rest.
 

Silversage

Head Chef
Joined
Aug 31, 2004
Messages
1,328
Location
Florida
George, if you are trying to simplify, you need to first ask yourself what types of dishes you most like to eat. Italian? Mexican? Asian? Good old meat and potatoes?
Once you have a focus on some dishes, we can help with simple recipes, and some substitutions for labor intensive steps. The spices will fall into place from the dishes you want to cook.
For example, you need different spices for a steak or pork chop than you would for spaghetti and meatballs. Why don't you start a thread called What George Wants To Eat, and we can suggest some simple ways to make them and the necessary spices and pantry ingredients you should keep on hand.

Just be careful not to get frustrated when someone comes along and insists that it's better to do everything from scratch the hard way (someone certainly will). Ignore the comments that are too complicated and learn from those of us that are not purists.
 

taxlady

Chef Extraordinaire
Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Sep 13, 2010
Messages
29,287
Location
near Montreal, Quebec
George, if you are trying to simplify, you need to first ask yourself what types of dishes you most like to eat. Italian? Mexican? Asian? Good old meat and potatoes?
Once you have a focus on some dishes, we can help with simple recipes, and some substitutions for labor intensive steps. The spices will fall into place from the dishes you want to cook.
For example, you need different spices for a steak or pork chop than you would for spaghetti and meatballs. Why don't you start a thread called What George Wants To Eat, and we can suggest some simple ways to make them and the necessary spices and pantry ingredients you should keep on hand.

Just be careful not to get frustrated when someone comes along and insists that it's better to do everything from scratch the hard way (someone certainly will). Ignore the comments that are too complicated and learn from those of us that are not purists.

Good suggestions.
 

Sir_Loin_of_Beef

Chef Extraordinaire
Joined
Apr 19, 2011
Messages
12,384
Location
Sandy Eggo
It depends on what style I am cooking. For example, I use totally different spices for Mexican than I do Italian, another set of spices for Asian, another for Middle Eastern, as well as a totally different set for good old American New England boiled cuisine, which generally has very few spices by comparison. I am not only multi-lingual, I am also a multi-gastronomist.
 
Last edited:

Chief Longwind Of The North

Certified/Certifiable
Joined
Aug 26, 2004
Messages
12,454
Location
USA,Michigan
I'll give top spices/herbs in categories.

1. Pasta herbs/spices
Oregano
Basil
Rosemary
Thyme
Garlic

2. Warm spices/herbs
Cinnamon
Nutmeg
Cloves
Allspice
Ginger
vanilla

3.Meat herbs/spices
Paprika
smoked paprika
dried peppers/pepper blends
garlic
cumin
fresh cilantro

4. Soup herbs/spices
all of the above
Celery seed
summer savory
dried, granulated Onion
basil
soup base, or broths

5 Chile Seasoning herbs/spices
chili powder
ground cumin
coriander
cocoa powder
dried peppers

6. Asian dishes herbs/spices
Garlic
Chinese 5 spice
mustard powder
onion powder
dried/fresh peppers

7. Other essential flavors in my pantry:
Lemon grass
fruit extracts (lemon, orange, wintergreen, lime, strawberry, root beer, etc.
lemon juice
lime juice
cream of tartar
baking soda
diastatc malt
malted milk powder
white vinegar
wine vinegars
apple vinegar
truffle salt
cheddar cheese powder
caramel
pickling spice mix
Liquid Smoke
Smoking wood
dill weed
hoisin sauce
fish sauce
soy sauce
wasabi powder
horseradish powder
anchovies/paste
coconut extract
coconut milk
sugar
dark brown sugar
blackstrap molasses
banana extract, or freeze dried/dehydrated chips
freeze dried/dehydrated apple chips
pectin
curie blends
dried or freeze dried pineapple chips

As you can see, I consider all of these essential I have a pantry full of hers, spices, and flavorings. I have more than what is listed here, and I use all of them in one form or another. Narrowing down to just 5 would be impossible for me.

The above list allows me to make BBQ. seafood, soups, meats, deserts, pastries, even my own condiments and sauces, dry rubs, wet rubs, salads, veggies, and virtually anything I feel like making.

That's just my take on it, and it doesn't even include things like nutritional yeast, TVP, leavening agents.

Seeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
 
Last edited:

kb0000

Washing Up
Joined
Dec 29, 2020
Messages
130
Location
heber city
Good question.​
1] thyme because it improves everything.​
2] tarragon. 2 reasons: 1] it flavors many of my favorite dishes and 2] a dab of tarragon is indispensable with sea food and fish because it cancels the ‘fishy smell’​
3] Turkish Bay leaf​
4] nutmeg​
5] chervil because a touch of nutmeg + chervil makes everything taste better.​


 

karadekoolaid

Head Chef
Joined
Jul 16, 2006
Messages
1,317
Location
Caracas
Good question.​
1] thyme because it improves everything.​
2] tarragon. 2 reasons: 1] it flavors many of my favorite dishes and 2] a dab of tarragon is indispensable with sea food and fish because it cancels the ‘fishy smell’​
3] Turkish Bay leaf​
4] nutmeg​
5] chervil because a touch of nutmeg + chervil makes everything taste better.​



The only spice you´ve got there is nutmeg. All the others are herbs.
 

larry_stewart

Master Chef
Joined
Dec 25, 2006
Messages
5,452
Location
Long Island, New York
My top 5 'General' Herbs, Spices, Flavor enhancers ... would be:
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
Paprika/ Smoked Paprika
Cumin
Oregano

But, if I only had those stocked, I wouldn't be able to complete many dishes from many different cuisines ( Indian, Moroccan, Chinese ...), So although the above are most universal for me, I would be extremely limited if that is all I had.
 

Marlingardener

Senior Cook
Joined
Apr 24, 2022
Messages
273
Location
unincorporated area
Since this has been opened up to herbs, my absolute, have-to-have herbs are basil, Italian flat leaf parsley, marjoram, oregano, and thyme. Lots and lots of thyme. I use a lot of garlic too, but don't think it falls in either category.
I grow herbs, use them fresh, freeze chopped herbs, and dry herbs. Seeing my herbs hanging to dry, a lady asked me if I was a witch. She now rests peacefully under the compost pile.
 

taxlady

Chef Extraordinaire
Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Sep 13, 2010
Messages
29,287
Location
near Montreal, Quebec
I gave this a bit of thought. These two lists are not in any particular order.

My mostly commonly used spices:
  • mustard
  • garlic powder
  • cumin
  • fennel allspice
  • coriander

My most commonly used flavourings or enhancers:

  • apple cider vinegar
  • tamari
  • fish sauce or Worcestershire
  • minced fresh garlic
  • chopped onion
 
Last edited:

karadekoolaid

Head Chef
Joined
Jul 16, 2006
Messages
1,317
Location
Caracas
Just out of interest, Georgevan.I´ve got a HUGE cupboard packed with spices . but no way does it some close to 75.
Would you care to list the spices that you have? (And herbs are not to be included)
 

dragnlaw

Site Team
Staff member
Joined
Feb 16, 2013
Messages
7,989
Location
Waterdown, Ontario
Just out of interest, Georgevan.I´ve got a HUGE cupboard packed with spices . but no way does it some close to 75.
Would you care to list the spices that you have? (And herbs are not to be included)

oops, I may have included a few herbs and honestly a several might be doubles, there are however, quite a few 'mixed' (both store bought and home concoctions). I stopped counting at 90.

That have sauces like Soya, asian mixes like red/green/yellow curries, harrisa, sriracha, etc in the fridge that I didn't count. The doubles are because I couldn't find and/or just plain forgot I already had.

Thing is, not cooking as much, so they'll all expire and die in the cupboard all alone and sad. :(
 

karadekoolaid

Head Chef
Joined
Jul 16, 2006
Messages
1,317
Location
Caracas
In the culinary arts, the word spice refers to any dried part of a plant, other than the leaves, used for seasoning and flavoring a recipe, but not used as the main ingredient. Why not the leaves? Because the green leafy parts of plants used in this way are considered herbs.
A condiment is a preparation that is added to food, typically after cooking, to impart a specific flavor, to enhance the flavor, or to complement the dish.
So let´s get this clear. A SPICE could be bark - as in cinnamon; seeds - as in cumin, black pepper, cardamom; flowers - as in cloves, Szechwan pepper, rosebuds, or dried fruit - as in chile peppers.
A SPICE MIX is a mixture of spices, like garam masala, curry powder, old Bay Seasoning, Chines 5-spice mix, baharat, etc.
A HERB is the leafy part of a plant. Mint, oregano, parsley, sage,bay leaves, etc.
A CONDIMENT could be a herb or spice, but generally is something like salt, soy, fish sauce, ketchup, mayonnaise, etc.
HP sauce, Ancona Hot Sauce, ketchup, teryaki sauce, oyster sauce, Worcestershire sauce - nope, they´re neither herbs nor spices nor spice mixes.
 

dragnlaw

Site Team
Staff member
Joined
Feb 16, 2013
Messages
7,989
Location
Waterdown, Ontario
LOL - but they are all in the same cupboard... at least mine are, well... sort'a... almost... just about...

Also I find that when a person says, what can we add to spice this up a bit? They may not really mean 'spice' per se. Could be a sauce or an herb to add that finishing touch that "spices" or "takes it over the top"
 
Last edited:
Top Bottom