Reflecting back upon my mother's kitchen, I vaguely remember that she had a little wooden spice rack mounted on the wall. It had maybe 3-4 shelves, 2 or 3 of which were filled with odds and ends; maybe some food coloring, a bottle of vanilla extract, and maybe 3 or 4 other flavorings, a salt and pepper shaker set or two, and then a few spices; salt, pepper, and honestly I cannot remember what else. She seasoned most every dish with garlic salt. My father thought black pepper was a heinous evil, on par with white bread, baking soda and baking powder. (Hence she hid those last 2 items in the cupboard-white bread was not allowed into the house at all-along with any other white flour products, like soda/soup crackers...etc.)
I had not had my own kitchen long (starting only a little over 6-7 years ago, a bit before I married) that I realized I was NOT like my mother. I love exotic spices. I am not into hot spices, but just exotic spices. It probably began back in Portland with my first visit to an East Indian restaurant. I don't do hot curries, but I loved their combinations of spices; the tastes and the smells.
Now that I am married I am often drawn to the exotic dishes that I remember from my visit to Malaysia; much of which was East Indian. Occasionally I modify them so that my husband will enjoy them as well, but they generally call for those non-basic spices; cumin, coriander, turmeric... I found myself collecting more spice jars than I knew what to do with. Two or three years ago I requested a spice rack to help with organizing. Hmmm....
This morning, with a bit of help-as you can see from the picture, I cleaned out my spice cupboard. This is what I found:
My Spice List
Ground cloves-2 small bottles
Ground cinnamon-two large bottles
Apple pie spice
Cream of tartar
Whole cinnamon sticks-1 package
In the Spice Rack:
Whole mustard seeds
Ground black pepper
Bay leaves –chopped
In the picture Ellen is helpfully rearranging my spice rack from being alphabetical to being Ellenetical (whatever THAT may mean).
At any rate, I went through and eliminated some of the spices in the rack. I dumped the stuff I hadn't used since I got them, put stuff from the other bottles into the spice rack bottles and relabeled them. That helped cut down on the clutter greatly. But it's still obvious when you open the cupboard that I have this THING about spices.
Well, at least I know my food isn't all boring.