Whether you’re strictly a meat and potatoes person who shuns veggies — except for tomatoes masquerading as salsa; yes, they exist — or have no fear of diving into recipes from the French Laundry cookbook, every cook needs a foundation and knowledge of basic spices.I
Sure, some recipes are going to call for something not on this list, but for 90 percent of what will pass over and through most cooks’ home stoves, grills and crock pots, these will likely get the job done.
Our goal here isn’t to get overly geeky about this, but to lay out some interesting and basic knowledge about each of these 10 spices; where and how they’re used, varieties of interest, restaurants that make exceptional use of them and a recipe or two (found on our website) that will introduce you to each of them.
And just to be clear, these spices are what you’d use for most cooking; baking, not so much. That list will come later. For now, we’ll focus on the grill, stockpot and stovetop. So load up your eyes, nose and mouth and see what we can learn following these basic spices.
Make a list, any list (10 best rock bands, best ski areas, best looking men/women) and someone is going to be upset about leaving something out or be shocked that you included something else. I’m not trying to end a debate here, so feel free to write letting me know what’s wrong with this list and what should’ve been included (or left out) and why. There are certainly borderline spices needed to complete a given dish. But various chefs, purveyors, cookbooks, articles and my own experience led to these 10. And yes, salt is a spice. But it’s not included here because it’s largely ubiquitous — and often overused in processed food. This month starts with an obvious basic.