spices

and herbs.

These are half of the dry spices.


They come and go and come and go continuously. They seem so well-behaved here but they're not. Unruly, barely manageable, resistant to discipline, they're all over the place, ever in need of a wet wiping, wandering off their alphabets, the C's overwhelming numerically and confusing things so that one risks mistaking coriander for caraway . These are the dry, pantry, back-up versions of what is generally used fresh. The bulk of herbs used around here are fresh not dry which means they must be sought out continuously, either bought, or grown, be graciously given to, or found, pinched from an unguarded garden, collected however possible. Some herbs are so lame in dry form they're hardly worth having around at all, even for emergencies, basil, cilantro and parsley to name a few, others are so loud and pushy for so long it seems their powers will never diminish, like cumin, clove, and cinnamon, they have a tendency to crowd out others around them, but they do diminish and so must be used up. To prevent loitering, feature them in dishes you ordinarily wouldn't. Keeps them moving along and rotated out.

The other half is divided into two halves.

bueno por grande

Top of the other half

In another cabinet there is another much bigger half


Looks like this inside


The other half are frozen, the most volatile or fragile portion, half of them are in bags and half in jars; five or six curries, maybe down to four, herb de provence, cardamon pods, sage, summer savory in a bag that got frozen brittle, broke open and flaked all over the place, and other stuff, I'd show them but I can't be arsked. They're being punished.

The last half is in a box that doesn't fit anywhere else. It contains bags of dried chile of various colors and powers. But that's only half of it. There's also a separate container for salt because it doesn't play well with friends whilst stored, different grinds and characteristics, even smoked salt which is awesome. But that's only half the remainder. There's also a storage container of intensely flavored oil for chocolate that can be used for other things but they're awful, a couple dozen of those. Kids like them.

So. Dry spices have a half-life of infinity, but they must be used entirely well before that, thus a paradox is created that cannot be satisfied. Do not allow yourself to be overtaken by this superabundance and don't assume it must all be eaten. It can be added to the bath, used as carpet freshener, scrubbing abrasive, incense, insect repellent, pet deodorizer and many other non-culinary objectives.

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