Hello. My name is Tim. And I’m a spice-a-holic.
I don’t really know when it started. I was young. You know how it is… a little cinnamon in the oatmeal. Spice cookies at Christmas. And before I knew it, I was buying pounds of bay leaves online. Do you have any idea how many bay leaves are in a pound? Let’s just say a lot.
My dealer of choice has been Atlantic Spice Company since we moved east. Back in San Francisco, it was their sister company, San Francisco Herb Company. A fitting name. I’d walk into their warehouse of a store and just buy whatever looked good at the moment. It was an addicts dream. Bin after bin of the best herbs and spices around – at the best prices one could imagine. Moving east meant mail-order. In one pound lots for many years.
One pound lots. Okay… you’ve envisioned a pound of bay leaves. Now think of a pound of marjoram. Or basil.
I have airtight bins down in the basement where I keep the stuff that won’t fit on the shelves and today, I decided it was time to bring them upstairs, refill the jars in the cabinets, and see what we needed. While we have most known herbs and spices, there are a few that I go through quicker than others – and there’s always a new one out there that may need to find a home…
It’s great to know that at any given moment, we could cook just about any cuisine in the world. We have berbere from Ethiopia, boonie pepper from Guam, Saigon cinnamon, Japanese sansho 7-spice blend… Greek oregano and Mexican oregano. Piri-piri from Mozambique. Whole nutmegs, ground nutmeg, whole allspice, ground allspice, whole cloves, ground cloves… Star anise, anise seed, French herbs, herbs d’Provence, Italian herbs, several Caribbean spice blends, Spanish paprika, Hungarian paprika, smoked paprika, and no less than 13 different salts. Really. Smoked salt, Himalayan pink, red salt, black salt, French sea salt, fleur de sel, sel gris, San Francisco Bay salt, Maldon salt, Sale al vino Roso, Sale d’erbe al limon, Kosher salt and canning salt. Oh. And a carton of regular ol’ iodized table salt we use to fill up our salt shaker collection.
Yeah… salt and pepper shaker collection. We had to stop buying them.
But a dozen salts, or no, it’s nice to know that we’re not going to run out of anything any time soon. The jars are all filled, I still have a bit of back-up downstairs – cinnamon, chipotle powder – things I go through quickly – and I have a nice big box of portioned out herbs and spices that I’m bringing into work tomorrow to share with my coworkers.
And with all of this leaving, there’s room for a few more!
One thing to note is I don’t care what the ‘experts’ say, I do not throw out my spices after a year. They’re all in airtight jars in a dark cabinet or in airtight bins in a cool basement. And they’re also in a corner carousel cabinet so nothing ever languishes in a corner or hidden under something equally old. I suppose things could possibly lose a bit of potency over time, but if that happened, I’d just add an extra pinch. They don’t go bad. The containers get dusty. Wipe them off once in a while.