Spice it up.
I have been on a journey to eat real food. Going from already spiced prepared foods to real food was a challenge. One of the troubles I have had is spicing things up. I started noticing that all my food was tasting the same. I was using the same 5 or 6 flavors in all my food. I needed help!
How does one know what spices to use? I was given the advice to let your nose guide the way. Smell the spices together and see what your nose thinks, start experimenting. It was all good advice, but what came in helpful was the spice guide that I have put below.
A word of advice do not start with those spices that have been sitting for years and years, throw them out and start over. Many of the spices lose their flavor after a while. Some say to replace all the spices every six months. For many that is not practical advice. I would say pick a spice to replace every week or two until you get them all replaced. It worked for me. I am using them more often now, so I am rotating through them.
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HERE ARE SOME SPICE GUIDELINES TO USE IN YOUR COOKING
For spanish food try some things like
basil, bay leaf, garlic, onion, mild paprika, parsley, peppers (sweet and hot), saffron, lemon, wine, butter, olive oil, mild white cheese.
For French food try things like
basil, bay leaf, celery seed, cardomom, cloves, dill weed, garlic, horseradish, marjorom, mushrooms, mustard, nutmeg, nuts (almonds, walnuts), onion, paprika, parsley, pepper, rosemary, sage, savory, tarragon, thyme, lemon, wine vinegar, wines, sherry, vermouth, butter, olive oil, cheddar cheese, cream cheese, swiss cheese
For Mexican food try
cumin, basil, chili powder, cilantro, lime, garlic, onion, oregano, peppers (sweet and hot), tamarind, tomato dry red wine, lemon, olive oil, cream cheese, mild white cheese, sour cream.
For East European food try
caraway, dill (seed and weed), horseradish, mushroom, onion, paprika hot, parsley, poppyseed, lemon, cider vinegar, dry red wine, sherry, butter, cream cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, yougurt
For Italian food you could try
basil, bay leaf, garlic, marjarom, mushroom, corriander, onion, oregano, parsley, peppers (sweet and hot), rosemary, saffron, thyme, tomato, wine vinegar, marsala wine, butter, olive oil, hard sharp cheeses, mozzarella, ricotta
For Chinese food try
Anise,cinnamon, cilantro, cloves, garlic, ginger, fennel, five spice powder, mushrooms, mustard, nuts (peanuts, almonds cachews), onion, peppers (hot), sesame seed, soy sauce, vinegar, rice wine vinegar, peanut or soy oil, sesame oil, tofu
For Mediterranean food try
Basil, cinnamon, cumin, dill weed, garlic, mint, onion, oregeno, parsley, peppers (sweet or hot), rosemary, sesame (tahini), lemon, vinegar (cider or wine), dry red wine, butter, olive oil, feta cheese, goats milk cheese, sour cream, yogurt
For Indian food try
cardomom, cinnamon, cloves, corriander seed, cumin seed, dill (seed and weed), fennel (seed and root), fenugreek, garlic, ginger, mustard seed, nuts, onions, peppers (hot or sweet), poppyseed, saffron, sesame seeds (tahini), tomato, tumeric, lemon, lime, butter (ghee), peanut oil, mild curd cheese, yogurt
Good luck and Happy cooking