June 3, 2009 by 8junebugs

Someone needs to make a candle that smells like the inside of a Penzey’s. I went to my local store yesterday (endlessly grateful to have a local store) and came away with:

  • Arrowroot starch
  • Bay leaves
  • Cardamom
  • Celery flakes
  • Dill weed
  • Marjoram
  • Mustard, ground
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Renewed interest in flavor

I would like it noted that I showed remarkable restraint in the face of fleur de sel and pink peppercorns. And the vanilla sugar. REMARKABLE. I was there to replace herbs and spices that were, by my best estimate, at least six years old.

What? The spice rack was a gift and I’d only replaced what I use most frequently. When I went to make pizza the week before last, though, I opted not to use the tired old red pepper flakes. The difference in color, to say nothing of the flavor, between those and the new ones I brought home was enough to convince me to replace all the other dry, dusty, potentially poisonous flakes.

I didn’t always care about herbs and spices. In my pantry, you’ll find the mainstay of my mother’s kitchen: Lawry’s Seasoning Salt. Can’t go wrong with it on meat — garlic, paprika, onion…all good. This is the flavor of my youth, this and the tangy zip of Miracle Whip.

(Does anyone know what makes that zip SO TANGY? Seriously. I don’t eat much of it anymore, but I keep a small jar on hand, because sometimes life calls for a bologna sandwich on white.)

It took years to start to recognize different spices and flavors in someone else’s cooking. I think it’s because Middlebury didn’t have take-out (still has very little, and no delivery unless you’re at the college). Until I had access to different cuisines and cultures, I thought spices led to the five-alarm tongue fires on Tom & Jerry. I couldn’t pick garlic out of a line-up, by look or smell. I was afraid of onions but accepted onion powder. I had never heard of curry.

I’m better now.


2 thoughts on “Spicy

  1. Flip-Flop says:

    Lawry’s! Yes. My childhood seasoning too. And miracle whip. Have you ever noticed people either LOVE or HATE miracle whip? No one is on the fence…everyone has a passionate opinion. I happen to be in the love category.

    • 8junebugs says:

      Oh, I was raised on the love/hate around Miracle Whip. There was Mom’s macaroni salad, which was made with Miracle Whip, and Dad’s macaroni salad, which was made with mayo and mustard. Every barbecue HAD to have both — Dad was definitely on the hate-it side.

      People get especially grossed out when they learn I like it on fish sticks, but I tell you! The TANGY! And the ZIP! It’s better than tartar sauce, which is just icky. 😉

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