Field of Science

Seasoning starter kit

The morning newspaper had side column suggesting a list of 10 must have seasonings for the brand-new, novice cook.  Having a deep philosophical conversation before consuming your full titer of caffeine is not a good idea, so the Phactors decided this was safe to discuss being fairly mundane.  First, the initial assumption must be that this starter kit is for someone whose idea of "home cooking" is to put the frozen pizza into the oven.  Second, what kind of things do "novice" cooks first begin to try?  Doesn't entry into cooking usually begin with confections; things like brownies and cookies?  Even the Phactors seldom make red pasta sauce from scratch anymore.  Maybe a salad dressing is easy enough, and certainly seasonings for grilling or frying meat.  Third, obviously these are in the dried not fresh seasonings.  So here's the newspaper's suggested list of 10: salt, pepper, bay leaves, onion powder, garlic powder, seasoning salt, dill weed, summer savory, parsley, basil.
Granted the Phactors have an herb garden, but TPP can count on one hand the number of times he's used summer savory in the past decade.  And while we use a lot of dill weed in marinades and dips (OK that might be the reasoning for the seasoning.), it's not on my top 10 list of necessities.  Of course presently the Phactors go through an alarming amount of coriander, cumin, and tumeric, as well as a lot of cinnamon and oregano.  We use a lot of paprika, chili powder, dry mustard, and hot red pepper (flakes & powdered).  Parsley is an essential, but it's never out of season and it's never dried.  Wouldn't even a novice cook have onions and garlic bulbs?  If you're cooking something that calls for onion and garlic, why use powdered?  Is this asking too much of a novice?  After all, salt is on the list.  Checked a really simple cookbook and oregano and dry mustard were common enough, but garlic powder, onion powder, summer savory, dill weed, basil, not at all.  So here goes, the Phactors' starter kit: salt, pepper, oregano, basil, cinnamon, chili powder, dry mustard, red pepper flakes, cumin, coriander.  You have to encourage people that cooking is an adventure, right?  Your imput and justifications are welcomed. 


spice rack said...

Your list would be similar to mine, except for:
chili powder->paprika
dry mustard->thyme
red pepper flakes->ginger

Clarissa said...

"Wouldn't even a novice cook have onions and garlic bulbs? If you're cooking something that calls for onion and garlic, why use powdered? "

- I agree completely. I have no idea why people use onion and garlic powder when it's so easy to use fresh onion and garlic.

I would also recommend allspice berries. I use them for everything (soups, stews, ragouts, etc.) and they work with most meats and vegetables.

The Phytophactor said...

Good point; there's a reason they called it allspice!

CelticRose said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CelticRose said...

Yeah, garlic powder is an odd choice, especially since one can easily buy a jar of chopped or minced garlic.