I was looking at my spice cupboard recently and noticing that it's gotten rather disorderly in the past few months. All except for a curious handful of tins neatly arranged in one corner. These spices, I realized, are the ones I use almost every day.
It's an interesting thing to suddenly come face to face with the essential flavors of your cooking. None of these spices was picked intentionally. I just gravitated to them over the years, using them more and more frequently. Now, I honestly can't imagine one of my standby quick weeknight meals without them.
They are as follows: smoked paprika, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, and oregano. I guess I like southwestern flavors, huh?! Whether I'm making pot of beans, a simple sauce for chicken, or even a frittata of leftovers, these spices just seem to find their way into the pan. I love them.
What about you? When you take a look at cooking, which spices and herbs are most readily at hand?
(Image: Faith Durand)