Just a Pinch
When people think of spices they pretty much only think of salt and pepper. Brad Roemer knows this couldn’t be further from the truth. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of spices that will make your food taste better. In the paragraphs that follow, we will discuss the spices from different parts of the world and why you should incorporate more spices into your cooking.
- Basil – Move over salt, basil is considered the most popular spice in the world. You can use it either fresh or dried in a variety of dishes including, but not limited to those containing chicken, fish, or pork. The best pairing by far for basil is cucumber, rice, and legumes. Basil dates back further than the Middle Ages, but this is when the herb became more popular. It was not uncommon to find basil in nearly every tomato-based dish during this period. Keep in mind that basil is a very dainty herb and cannot withstand a large amount of heat. Meaning, it is best to finish your dish with the herb rather than cook with it. So, once you have snatched your dish from the stovetop or oven, sprinkle the herb on and toss to incorporate into the dish.
- Marjoram – Tied with oregano for the second most used spice in the world. This spice can be used with dishes ranging from meats to hot snacks. It is not rare to find this herb in cheeses, pies, stuffing, mushroom dishes, salad, fish dishes, and poultry dishes. Prior to being used as a spice in cooking, marjoram was used to produce wine.
- Cinnamon – This spice is widely used in all Eastern countries of the world. It was one of the most heavily traded commodities of The East India Trading Company and garnered the most profit. This is the reason that pirates would target EITC ships and the reason the EITC ships were also the most heavily gunned. It was very rare to see anyone that was poor using cinnamon as it was the spice that was most coveted by royalty. Today, we used it to season anything from drinks to cheese.
- Carnation – Also know as cloves, these stem looking spices rice and puddings. Quite often if you are using this or cinnamon, you will be using both as they compliment each other nicely.
- Mustard – Often thought as a condiment for hamburgers and hotdogs, mustard is actually a seed. The product we get from the store for our barbeques is ground up mustard with liquid to stop the seed from producing further heat (spice heat, not physical heat). While we use it to add flavor to our outdoor cooking in the west, Russians use it to put on their salads. Perhaps we should try that someday.
More Than a Pinch
As Brad Roemer mentioned at the start, there are hundreds of spices to add to your dish. People seem to be afraid of spices as they do not know what they are used for. There are plenty of online resources that can explain to you when and where to use them. You also get the added bonus of telling people your food is spicy and they will think you mean hot. There are two types of spicy, hot and full of spices. Yours will obviously be the latter of the two. So, grab some spices and get cooking!