The 10 Spices I Bring with Me on Vacation

published Jul 28, 2016
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The increase of apartment and house rentals on the vacation market means greater flexibility when visiting a new place. You can live like a local, cook your own meals, and even entertain friends. But while many of these loaner kitchens claim to be fully stocked, they’re usually lacking in the things that truly make a meal stand out (as well as sharp knives). They might have salt and pepper, but usually they offer little else by way of flavor enhancements — which is why I always travel with my own.

My on-the-go spice kit takes up so little space in my suitcase, why not bring it? If it doesn’t get used, no loss. But when I get to enjoy cinnamon in my oatmeal or a well-seasoned omelet in the morning, I am always happy I brought my seasonings along.

(Image credit: Jennifer Fliss)

The 10 Spices I Bring with Me on Vacation

So what’s in my kit? Here are the spices I can’t live without.

1. Cinnamon

Oatmeal. Toast. Hot chocolate. Coffee. Enough said.

2. Garlic Powder

Garlic powder is scoffed at by many, but when you don’t want to use just a single garlic clove, it’s a terrific add-in for nearly every kind of savory dish.

3. Onion Powder

A little onion powder can turn your popcorn into a kind of sour cream & onion delight — and who doesn’t like that? It also works well on roasted vegetables, salad dressings, eggs, beefy dishes, and soups.

4. Paprika

My favorite meal to prepare when I travel is shakshuka, which is a tomato-vegetable stew that is heavy on the paprika. But paprika is surprisingly versatile. Throw it into a fry batter or on potatoes or eggs and it brings a delectable complex smokiness to your meal.

5. Cayenne

Cayenne is a great add-in to hot chocolate, but its more common savory uses are in soups, casseroles, and roasted meat. Cayenne adds a little tasty heat to just about anything.

6. Flake Sea Salt

My salt of choice is Maldon, but really, any good-quality salt will take a meal to the next level.

7. Crank Pepper

Personally I can’t stand pre-ground black pepper, so I bring a small thing of black pepper that’s available in grocery stores already loaded and ready to crank.

8. Sugar

For me, coffee is unbearable without sugar. Brown sugar in particular makes coffee more interesting and is also my go-to for oatmeal.

9. Furikake

Furikake is a Japanese seasoning mix made up of small pieces of nori (seaweed) and sesame seeds. The mix I like includes dried salmon flakes and is a wonderful addition to rice or eggs.

10. Fajita/Taco Spice Mix

I get mine from World Spice Merchants in Seattle, but Penzeys is also superb. Your local grocery store will have any number of options as well. Directions: Buy meat; add spice mix; wrap in tortilla; eat.

Do you travel with your own spice kit? What’s in your travel stash?