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The Minimalist Spice Rack

by Gip Plaster on March 29th, 2010

All I wanted to do was put away a bottle of olive oil. It had lived on the kitchen counter next to the stove for so long, however, I couldn’t remember if it or one of its ancestors ever had a place to call its own. My effort to gain completely clean kitchen countertops would be foiled if it didn’t take cover.

The cabinet with the canned and boxed items is full and cluttered, and since the oil is used frequently, it didn’t really belong there anyway. It should be with the spices and seasonings since it’s used when they are. Brilliant! Their home, a shelf above the drinking glasses, was already full, though.

A three-level rack held bottles of herbs, spices and seasonings of all sorts. The rack would have to go if the oily little guy was moving in, so I decided it was time for a complete overhaul. We’ve lived in this house for almost nine years, and I really think some of those spices moved in with us, contained in that cardboard box that smelled stranger than any other when it arrived.

How many spices do two guys need anyway?

We don’t need much, really. The rack is gone now, and so are most of the old bottles and jars. Here’s what’s left on the shelf:

  • Salt, recently moved from the cluttered cabinet in the corner. For some reason, I have two 26-ounce containers of salt and one that’s almost empty, so I’m ready for any brining that comes along.
  • Pepper melange, a peppercorn blend I use in the grinder instead of black pepper. (If those pre-ground powdery specks were all I could get, I’d do without.)
  • Garlic powder, my go-to seasoning for all meats and veggies. I can’t cook without this one.
  • Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, also used in most dishes I cook. David grew up in a Lawry’s home, but we were strictly McCormick where I came from. (He won this battle, and this battle only.)
  • Dried dill, since it was recently purchased and is a key ingredient in my homemade ranch dressing.
  • Dried parsley, also newish and also in the ranch dressing.
  • Roasted Garlic and Herb Seasoning, to provide some variety when the seasoned salt is getting tiresome.
  • Old Bay Seasoning, because I recently wanted to see what it’s like. It’s seasoned salt with a fancier name.

And joining these fine items are:

  • Sugar, also a refugee from the clutter of the corner cabinet, which is finding life sweeter than ever in its new home.
  • Apple cider vinegar, a great addition to cole slaws and the cats’ water dish. (It’s supposed to be good for them.)
  • Balsamic vinegar, in case I ever decide I like it. I haven’t had much luck yet.
  • Olive oil, the trouble-making, good-for-something guy that started this mess.

When you read all of that, it doesn’t sound very minimal at all, does it? Still, I’m not willing to part with anything else. In fact, I’m sure I’ll be trying a recipe soon that will require something new, but I’ll buy the smallest one I can get.

And if I don’t like it, it’s going in the trash. I mean… Really? Keeping so many spices that you need stair-stepped risers for them? That’s just way over the top.

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From → Simpler Living

5 Comments
  1. Don’t forget the crushed dried chillies to spice up just about everything. So handy as you can just sprinkle them on cooked food or actually use them in the food prep. I do have heaps of herbs and spices that are a bit underused but the coriander and cumin get reasonable for Mexican food and Indian curries:)

  2. Thanks, Annabel, for your comment here and your email. I appreciate your time.

    I’m sure my spice rack will grow some again, but it’s nice to have a clean start. And it will be nice to have fresh, flavorful versions of whatever I decide to buy.

    I did forget to mention the tiny bottle of vanilla extract, the closest thing to alcohol I keep in the house except the isopropyl. I also bought some cinnamon this week for a couscous breakfast dish I’ve been wanting to try. I don’t have any couscous, though.

  3. Mary permalink

    How ’bout sending me that Ranch Dressing recipe. See I can still writ a litle bit. I get that from your mother. I really don’t spel vary gud anymoor.Enjoyed reeding some of you stuf.I hope yur frends don’t really thingk I am so much dummer then you but U never no.
    Luv ya

  4. Who said anything about friends?

    The poster above, who identified herself as “Mary”, is actually my sister.

    She uses the name Mary on the Internet, but her real name is a closely guarded secret.

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