When it comes to herbs and spices
I could tell you to go out and buy a whole bunch of spices that would be interesting to smell and look at and most likely, most would remain, unused in a drawer, or worst – on a carousel (a shower gift) taking up valuable counter space.
Okay, so I’m not going to suggest you buy a bunch of spices – at least not right away. But if you ever happen to pass by a spice shop – the kind with rows and rows of big jars – walk in. It’s a sensory and textural odyssey. To learn the secrets of both the art and science of these gems would take a lifetime of study – a journey I have barely dipped my toes in – a journey I doubt you want to take – unless you do. No. I’m not going to let all those powders in bright colors scare you. I promise.
If you’re a new cook; maybe you’re just starting out on your own, moved into your first apartment and you need to learn to cook or you’ll go broke; or maybe you’ve been inspired because you have health issues that you want to take care of and begin healing; or maybe you want to prepare health, tasty meals for your family; or maybe you’ve decided to slow down and cooking is something you always wanted to do well but never had the time. You’re here and I’m glad.
Here’s what to do to prepare…
Don’t think I’m taking the easy way out with this. I’m not. I’m saving you from spice rack horrors and a likely feeling of overwhelm if I gave you one of those lists of herbs and spices – even the basic ones. If you want to see for yourself, just…google it.
Just what am I suggesting you google? Whatever it is that you like and want to learn to make yourself. What are some of your favorite foods, restaurant dishes, childhood favorites? Google that. You get the idea…just poke around. Start looking at recipes. Don’t worry about making it yet, just get familiar with recipes. Bookmark those you like. I don’t suggest you go global here.
Pick one type of cuisine to start and keep it simple.
Don’t freak out and say OMG I can’t make that. You don’t have to worry about that now. And I promise you…It’s almost always easier than it looks. In fact, it’s often true that the easiest (5 ingredients or less) are the most difficult to get right…but that’s another story.
The point is, relax, go have breakfast, lunch, dinner or whatever your heart’s desire with…Google.
Choose Your Recipes
Next, pick out recipes for dishes you’d really like to eat and then read though the recipes. Don’t worry about making them yet, just read through them. Envision the process in your head and compare them from one recipe to another. See any similarities? What herbs and spices do they use? Do they have anything in common? Now pick out one or two recipes you want to make. Make a list of the ingredients needed and that’s what you buy. If they use curry, cumin and garlic, that’s the start of your spice collection. As you add more recipes to try, you add my herbs and spices and more importantly, you know how to use them and vola! They’ve been demystified.
Now, join me in cooking basics and we’ll put all together.
photo courtesy of city-sentinel.com