SacFoodies Spice Rack
A great spice rack is essential to every cook’s kitchen. A little spice goes a long way and whether you prefer sweet, salty or savory – seasoning makes everything delicious.
With the right combination of herbs and spices, a simple dish could be transformed from bland to grand in just a matter of sprinkles. I sought out to discover what the perfect spice rack would consist of by asking my fellow foodies: What’s the one spice you can’t do without or the first spice you’d buy if you were stocking your kitchen from scratch, and why?
The result? The ultimate SacFoodies Spice Rack. Here’s what my fellow foodies had to say:
Amanda Frew: Smoked Paprika. It adds a depth of flavor to dishes that, many times, is that little something that puts it over the top. I add a dash to sauces and chili for a touch of smoky spice and even to dark chocolate brownies for an unexpected kick!
Brittany Gillmor: Black pepper is the spice of my life! When I was little my favorite things to eat were peas with pepper and macaroni and cheese…with lots of pepper. Now I enjoy the flavor black pepper adds to my salads, steaks and beyond.
Brooke Burgess: Nutmeg. Nearly all of my SacFoodies posts are desserts so it’s probably no surprise that nutmeg holds a place of honor on top of my favorite spice list. The warm, spicy sweet flavor adds depth to so many cherished recipes. I also love that it can match well with unexpected savory ingredients like cauliflower, lamb, squash and more.
Christine Schunk: Does hot sauce count as a spice? I put it on everything from eggs to clam chowder to grilled cheese sandwiches; it makes my world go round. But not just any hot sauce. I prefer Franks, Tapatio and Cholula: each one has a special place on our table and in my heart.
Dan Barber: Garlic. The Barbers love Italian food and then there’s the whole vampire thing.
Gayla Schlittenhart: Cardamom. My first taste of cardamom was when I ordered rice pudding with cardamom … delicious. I am a dessert lover and cardamom can be used in many dessert recipes. I am now craving chocolate cardamom cake!
Jake Ferguson: Garlic salt, hands down. I don’t enjoy my food to be overly salty, but something about garlic salt really punches up just about every dish. From pasta, to soup, to veggies, to using it in a rub for BBQ—I never need a ton, but always make sure I’ve got some on hand.
Jenna Buhagiar: Coarse ground black pepper. Love it on everything from sandwiches to seafood. For me, most meals aren’t complete until topped with black pepper.
John Armato: Curry powder. A favorite recipe from my childhood is a quick and easy one-skillet meal that includes curry powder. Not only do I love the flavor, but every time I make it the house instantly smells amazing and I’m transported back to warm memories. You can’t ask much more of a spice than that.
Kim Bedwell: Salt, although technically it’s a mineral and not a spice, but it’s the most important “spice” in my cupboard. It turns food from blah to brilliant and it’s incredibly versatile (look how many desserts now feature salt). If you are like me, you may have 4 or 5 different salts on hand at any given time. My new favorite is Maldon Salt. It’s amazing!
Kris Caputo: Saffron. My husband has mastered Ina Garten’s Saffron Risotto with Butternut Squash and it’s a decadent treat I truly can’t live without!
Liz Conant: Basil! Okay, it’s actually an herb, but either way I love it on everything. Fresh version preferred, but dried can do in a pinch. If you haven’t tried basil on a bagel with cream cheese, you’re missing out.
Maria Kniestedt: Rosemary. I love its woodsy, earthy scent, and I use it in everything from chicken and beef to savory breads (especially focaccia). That I can step outside and snip a few sprigs from my garden is a bonus!
Sallie Poggi: Cinnamon. It instantly brings me back to days in my grandmother’s Greek kitchen as cinnamon walnut cookies and baklava were always on hand. The earthiness of cinnamon instantly makes me feel warm, snug and safe. Plus I use it in everything – oatmeal, crumbles, coffee, or even in chili to add depth!
Sara Ortega: Red Pepper Flakes. Whether on pizza, pasta sauce or sautéed Thai vegetables, red pepper flakes add the edge that basic salt and pepper just can’t beat!
Shea GuntherMaher: Garlic. There’s no such thing as “too much garlic” in my family. The smell of freshly chopped garlic sizzling in the frying pan makes my mouth water. Smother it on meat, on rice, on potatoes, on everything please!
Shelly Kessen: Rosemary. Somewhat for the flavor, but more for the fun my son and I had picking it out and planting it in our first herb garden together.
Vanessa Sapino: Garlic salt. What’s there not to love about garlic and salt? It truly is a versatile go-to seasoning for a wide range of savory foods, such as adding to marinades for meats, or for pastas, breads, omelets, and baked or mashed potatoes.
What’s my spice of choice? Thyme. I love thyme and the subtle minty, woodsy taste it adds to any dish. It serves as an incredibly versatile all-purpose seasoning and when combined with lemon and garlic – the flavor is impeccable.
It’s hard to imagine what food would be like without the wonderful herbs and spices that elevate their flavors. Each spice is uniquely tasty in its own way, and each person is partial to his and her preferred flavors. We’re always looking for the next best spice combination that would tantalize our taste buds and take flavor to the next level, and we want to hear from you! What would you add to our SacFoodies Spice Rack?