Monday, July 28, 2008

Salt is a spice, right?

Today, at 11:19am, I realized that my spice rack is superfluous. I was cleaning the kitchen, talking to my friend Kristen on the phone and pulling out each of the 22 little vials of spices, trying to dust them into some semblance of shiny kitchen decor. Because honestly? That's all they are.

Steve and I registered for the spice rack before our wedding, and I was THRILLED when someone sent it to us as a gift; thrilled, I say. I envisioned fun evenings whipping up culinary masterpieces and sipping chardonnay, Steve and I chatting while THAT DOG lounged nearby being appropriately quaint and adorable. Really, it was a great picture, there in my head. And some of it has come true. Most evenings around here, wine is sipped, chat is exchanged, and a dog is adored. But to whatever extent food preparation is involved, the spice rack rarely comes into play (unless I prop it up in front of a steak or a roasted chicken to keep THAT DOG from forgetting how much less quaint and adorable she is when she's wolfing down our dinner).

As Kristen and I pondered what happens to spices when they simply twirl on a rack for four years, I looked closely at some of my spice options for the first time. What I saw there wasn't pretty.

Sage? It looks like ground up moths. Fennel? Rodent droppings. The last time I tried Rosemary, all those long little pieces CAUGHT FIRE in our gas stove, burning my pork roast to a crisp. Fun memories there. And what...on earth...is Marjoram???

Never mind. A non-profit in town is having a giant yard sale in two weeks, and I've placed my spinning rack of spices in the pile to be donated. Which means I've got room on my counter for some other kitchen gadget! Any suggestions? And PLEASE don't say the Kitchen Aid Mixer...if Oregano is too complicated for me, it's a safe bet that I'm not yet woman enough for the KAM...

15 comments:

Sarakastic said...

Marge Simpson once looked at a spice rack & said something like "8 spices? Some of them must be doubles" I don't even use pepper.

Gretchen said...

Salad spinner? George Foreman's Grill? Actually the latter one I can sort of recommend since one of my roomies (who doesn't cook) just got it so that she could cut down on unhealth food purchases....

Liza said...

I love my Kitchen Aid Mixer, but I only have one because it was given to me as a Christmas present. It weights a ton, but is very easy to use. I got rid of so many spices over the weekend. I figured out that I only use about 8 of the spices in my cabinets and the rest were just taking up space.

Why not a nice plant for your kitchen?

JenKneeBee said...

You probably already have a blender, but if not, it's great for non-cooking and cooking types alike. Yummy yummy smoothies.

Manic Mom said...

I hope the person who gave you the spice rack as a wedding gift doesn't read your blog! LOL!!!

But seriously, when WE registered for OUR spice rack, (which, incidentally, I too, got rid of well before the spices were ever used!), I was THRILLED when I opened the box of to discover the spinning gadget had vials that were ALREADY FILLED with the spices. I thought they came empty!

Duh.

keri mikulski :) said...

I threw my spice rack away. :) I should have donated it. Hmm.. I use my toaster oven everyday, but you probably have one. How about a bagel slicer? :)

hckygrl said...

Oh, NO! The cook in me is screaming! My first thought is rush to be your Culinary Super Girl. Cooking with herbs and spices 101? Personal Chef?

How about a Cuisinart Wine Cellar? We LOVE ours, a wedding present from my parents.

L Sass said...

I love the idea of a little wine fridge! Our friends had the kitchen counters in their new house custom built for a wine fridge. It's much more important than spice!

EMBurke said...

Get yourself a mini-Cuisinart mixer or some similar version that doesn't weigh more than a small child or obese cat; you can keep it in your cupboard and take it out when you need it. Try the Braun MR430HC Multiquick Deluxe Hand Blender & Chopper or some similar electric whisk. You will love it & never believe your life could function without it. It can also be mounted on the wall and makes a great conversation piece. Or get yourself a blender.

Do NOT throw out that marjoram! If you have ever used it you would already be a convert to the wonderful, delicate exotic & flavor that comes from this incredible herb. it is closely related to oregano, but much more unique in flavor. For those of you who are new to this fantastic herb and seasoning, try substituting (or combining) it with oregano in any dish that you would ordinarily use oregano in: spaghetti sauce, soup, etc. I am certain that you, too, will become a fan.

Stacy said...

Most kitchen appliances are silly. Like everyone knows a smoothie maker is a merely a really expensive blender (except for the people who own smoothie makers and are in denial). I'm a big fan of sandwich grillers, even though I know I can make a grilled cheese on the stovetop. Silliness.

Do you drink coffee? An expresso maker or upgrading to a nicer coffeemaker could be a good use of counter space.

Paige Jennifer said...

I bought this snazzy cookbook, wrote down the ingredients for two dishes I wanted to make and then headed off to Wholefoods to buy everything. That was February. I still haven't made either dish. Because apparently no place in the US sells this specific spice (which I've stopped trying to remember) in the original form. Only ground up. So now I have $60 of ingredients and nary a meal.

This means, yes, Salt is a spice and everything else should be burned.

Diana Peterfreund said...

I adore my spice rack. I use it all the time. I've had to refill several of the spices. The only one that never seems to get used is celery root.

Diana Peterfreund said...

BTW, I also vote you use the hand blender for a replacement. I can't live without mine. It purees soups and sauces, chops nuts and spices (guess you don't need that last bit), makes smoothies... I love it!

Alternately,a mini chopper. It looks like a little tiny food processor, but all it does is chop up veggies. I have no knife skills, so I love mine!

Lauren Elizabeth said...

Hate to say it, but maybe your spice rack wasn't well suited for you. If you ever find yourself collecting spices from the grocery store, try a spice rack that comes empty...like the SpiceStack. That way you can fill it with the spices you actually use - even if its just 10 bottles of steak seasonings and salt!

LEstes65 said...

You are hysterical. I have spices older than me and they still make food taste nice. Better I don't share that with people for whom I cook...