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Kalyn's Kitchen

Cooking with Spices in Kalyn’s Kitchen

Food bloggers, this post is for you! Others, normal people who actually eat without photographing their food first, probably don’t really care what kind of spices someone else has. However, among food bloggers, there seems to be quite a willingness to share intimate details of our (cooking) lives. I’m not sure if it’s motivated by voyuerism, seeing how everyone else cooks, or exhibitionism, showing off how you cook. Whatever the reason, we share these things because we like reading about each other.

First there was the unofficial meme where, along with a lot of other food bloggers, I showed my kitchen. Then I showed the happy day when Biggles at Meathenge showed me how to adjust the burners on my antique stove, by posting about how he adjusted the burners on his stove. Then earlier this month Cate at Sweetnicks asked us to show our refrigerator contents, so I posted about what’s in my fridge.

Now Cate is at it again. This time she wants us to show our spice racks. I was hesitant to participate, partly because I can’t take photos of the inside of my house worth a darn, but mostly because I have kind of an embarassing amount of spices. But then I remembered how fun it was to see inside other peoples refrigerators, and decided to take the risk. Please, don’t be hard on me for being so extravagant. I work hard to get the money to buy all those spices! You can’t really have too many spices can you? After you see my spices, be sure to visit Sweetnicks tomorrow to see what kind of spice collections other food bloggers have.

First, I have some spices in the cupboard by my stove. This is where I keep things I don’t use too often, or spices that I have more than one of.
Second, I have a big drawer of large sized spices, mostly from Costco, and also bags of ground spices to refill bottles in the spice rack. The bagged spices are from Penzeys, absolutely my favorite place to get spices.

In 1998 I remodeled my nearly 100 year old house, and my wonderful brother-in-law and contractor, Kelly, built this amazing oak spice rack which is above my antique stove. As you can see, it holds alot of spices. Yes, there are three jars stacked on each other in some spots. The hooks are where my pans hang when I’m not taking pictures of the spices. All the silver cans with white labels are Indian spices, something I got as a gift. The small and large jars with yellow labels are all from Penzeys. (Gee, all this free advertising I’m giving them, wouldn’t you think they would send me some free spices, or maybe hire me to write a blog for them? Penzeys, are you out there?)

Here’s how the spice rack and stove look with the pans hanging there. I love my kitchen, especially the stove, spice rack, and hanging racks for pans. Thanks again Kelly, for creating such a wonderful place for me to cook.

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    24 Comments on “Cooking with Spices in Kalyn’s Kitchen”

  1. I just had to comment after stumbling on these pics of your spices. I've always had a pretty reasonable herb/spice collection, but not excessive… until recently. A friend of mine was getting divorced, so I helped her get the house ready to show. One of her bridal showers had been a "spicing", where everyone brought spices. She had a potload of stuff, but never used anything other than salt, pepper and garlic! Not wanting to see unopened spices go to waste, I took her stash.

    Fast forward a year… I moved my mom up from Texas to be close to me. She had always been a traditional '50s-era type cook (including baking!), but also liked the occasional cajun or Tex-Mex recipe. Needless to say, she had a respectable spice cabinet. As her dementia increased, she stopped cooking, so I now have all of her spices as well!

    I'm going to try your spice mix, as that seems a great way to use up my *multiple* bottles of this-and-that!

    Thanks for blogging!

  2. Speaking of Penzey’s…has anyone found a spice rack that actually fits the jars that is modern looking and nice???

  3. Hank, it’s completely subjective, depending on what kind of food you like, but here are some things I consider essential:

    celery seed
    chile powder
    fennel (for spagetti sauce especially)
    curry powder (sweet and hot both)
    black pepper
    paprika (sweet and hot)

    That’s a pretty long list, but I’m sure there are things I’ve left off that some people consider essential. I’m not really into sweets, so there are lots of things like cinnamon, nutmet, and cloves that aren’t essentials for me.

    I’m sure there are also plenty of good cooks who don’t have all those things. You might like a site called Cooks Thesaurus that gives tips for substituting when you don’t have a certain ingredient.

    Have fun cooking!

  4. Kalyn,

    I’m just now getting into cooking, nothing fancy, but it seems like every time I turn around, I need a spice that I don’t have.

    What spices should every kitchen have on hand?